The Bourse, Philadelphia’s newest food hall, is officially open, with 28 food and drink vendors selling everything from chicken soup to bourbon cocktails to Egyptian fried chicken. The highly anticipated Old City destination is a $40-million reworking of the historic building’s previous food court, a ho-hum collection of stalls offering mainly cheesesteaks and sandwiches.
A landmark Beaux Arts building erected in 1895 as a commodities exchange, the Bourse is right across from Independence Mall, home of the Liberty Bell and other historical sites that draw thousands of tourists to Philly every year.
The vendors include relocated Philadelphia restaurants, like South Philly’s Grubhouse and Chaat and Chai; new homegrown concepts, including Filipino eatery Lalo and grilled cheeserie Mighty Melt, a collaboration between Stargazy’s Sam Jacobson and Mighty Bread Company’s Chris DiPiazza; and Washington, D.C., imports: Abunai Poke, Takorean, and others. There are outposts of long-running local ice cream shop Scoop Deville and, for booze by the bottle or in cocktails, Phoenixville-based Bluebird Distilling.
Here are five to head to first:
Chaat and Chai
Chef-owner Anney Thomas is serving South Indian street food including, true to the name, several different kinds of chaats and fresh-brewed chai. Thomas moved her eatery, known for its Kerala-style beef short ribs, from its South Philly location to the Bourse. Vegetarians and vegans will also find options here.
Neal Santos, Jillian Encarnacion, Resa Mueller, and Michael Cher are cooking Filipino comfort food at Lalo, using recipes from Encarnacion’s grandfather, who for 30 years sold Filipino barbecue sandwiches and kebabs from a cart across from Independence Mall. Look for inihaw, lumpiang sariwa, and leche flan, plus beer and cocktails.
Sam Jacobson, known for East Passyunk Avenue’s British pie shop Stargazy, turns to grilled cheese for Mighty Melt, a collaboration with baker Chris DiPiazza. But these sandwiches are a far cry from the version you make at home: The chefs are whipping up combinations like brie, prosciutto di parma, marmalade, and arugula; avocado, cured duck egg yolk, and pickles; and gouda, smoked ham, and roasted poblano-peach jam. Soups, sides, and fries are also available.
The owners of the popular Taza Truck in Easton head into Philly with Ka’moon, a fast-casual Egyptian stall offering halal eats. Stop here for 16-spice grilled chicken, steak shawarma, Egyptian-style fried chicken, and spicy fried cauliflower served as a wrap, rice bowl, salad bowl, or hummus bowl. This is another good spot for a vegetarian bite.
If it’s sugar you’re craving, head to this bakery for the stickiest of sticky buns — or sticky bun bread pudding, cinnamon rolls, liege waffles, chocolate babka, or Philadelphia-style butter cake. Barry’s Buns also has a location in Chestnut Hill.
The almost-complete list of food and drink vendors is here, with Rustica (South Philly-style sandwiches), Bricco Pizza, and Sylva Senat’s Baby Buns (sliders) not on the website yet.
The 29th vendor at the Bourse is Bonatsos, a florist. A 30th was promised in the form of seafood purveyor 3rd & Ferry out of Easton, Pennsylvania, but that didn’t come to fruition — so there’s a food hall spot up for grabs.
If you’re across town in University City, Franklin’s Table food hall houses Mike Solomonov’s Goldie and quick-serve versions of High Street on Market and Double Knot. In Chinatown, Chinatown Square offers Korean dishes, the Halal Guys gyros, poke, and more.