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University City Suddenly Has Six New Restaurants

Cheesesteaks, Korean fried chicken, bubble tea, and more pop up at Hamilton Court

A cheesesteak at the new Steve’s Prince of Steaks in University City
Kory Aversa

Steve’s Prince of Steaks is one of several new eateries at Hamilton Court, an overhauled apartment building with ground-floor retail at 39th and Chestnut streets in University City. Joining the Philly-favorite cheesesteak shop are four restaurants that also have a presence in Chinatown: Halal Guys, I-CE-NY Philly, Bonchon, and Tea Do. The sixth in the lineup is ice cream shop Creamery Cafe. All are open to the public, though with the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University right there, a student crowd is built in.

Steve’s, which started in Northeast Philly almost 40 years ago, turns the grill on Friday, October 19, with a cheesesteak giveaway: Score a free steak, fries, and soda Friday between noon and 2 p.m. or 4–6 p.m., or any time Friday if you have a college ID from Penn, Drexel, or the University of the Sciences. Sweet shops I-CE-NY and Creamery Cafe will also open Friday with freebies. The others will follow later.

As Eater reported early last year, developers Post Brothers bought the building — set across from Boston Market, Abner’s Cheesesteaks, and, somehow still, the subterranean strip club now called Atlantis (formerly Wizards) — with plans to renovate the property and add quick-serve restaurants. Most of the restaurants will front the street. The building dates back to 1901.

Where the magic happens at Steve’s Prince of Steaks
Kory Aversa

This is the fifth Steve’s Prince of Steaks in Philly, including one in Center City. Unlike the others, the new shop will also sell pizza and chicken wings and — this is big — have a liquor license, with beer, mixed drinks, and frozen cocktails on the menu (beers and ciders are available now; the rest will be added later). Pizza options include a cheesesteak pie. It seats about 30 people inside, at tables and a counter, with sidewalk seating for about 15.

What else is there to eat? Bonchon is a Korean fried chicken chain. Halal Guys is the New York City-based purveyor of gyros and falafel, with locations in the Chinatown Square food hall, Northeast Philly, and King of Prussia. I-CE-NY, established in Thailand, serves Thai-style rolled ice cream. Tea Do in Chinatown has a compact Japanese food menu, plus a long list of bubble teas.

Joining them at Hamilton Court is Creamery Cafe, with soft serve ice cream in unusual flavors and milkshakes dubbed “freakshakes.”

Rolled ice cream at I-CE-NY
I-CE-NY / Facebook

Additional eateries, including what’s being described as a karaoke and speakeasy bar, along with a couple of retail shops, are planned for the building — more on those later. Everything is between 38th and 39th Streets on Chestnut.

Nearby on Walnut Street, food hall Franklin’s Table opened on Penn’s campus earlier this year with outposts of Goldie, Pitruco Pizza, the Juice Merchant, and Little Baby’s Ice Cream and fast-casual versions of High Street on Market, Double Knot, and Kensington Quarters.

Bonchon Chicken

1020 Cherry St, Philadelphia, PA 19107 (267) 639-6686 Visit Website

Steve's Prince of Steaks

7200 Bustleton Avenue, , PA 19149 (215) 338-0985 Visit Website