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An illustrated map of Germantown in blue, with a pizza slice, two goats hugging each other, a dish of Ethiopian injera, and books stacked on top of each other with a cup of tea. Cat Park

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Where to Eat, Drink, and Snack in Germantown: A Local’s Guide

Neighborhood recommendations for buttery pancakes, stewed black beans, vegetarian hand pies, and dry cider from the Germantown locals who know it best

Standing in the middle of Center City, it can be easy to think of Philadelphia as a pretty small place. But true locals know that Germantown — a few miles away from downtown, in the often-overlooked northwest section of the city — holds some of the best vibes. It’s a community-oriented neighborhood with abundant possibilities, cozy bookstores, and lots to eat and drink, making it a beloved pocket of Philly. To help us get to know Germantown, we let three in-the-know residents tell us about their favorite places in the second installment of Eater Philly’s monthly series Ask A Local.

Rasheed Ajamu, community activist

If you’re interested in community activism in Philadelphia, you probably follow Rasheed Ajamu, perhaps better known by their Instagram handle @PhreedomJawn. Ajamu describes themselves as a curator of Phreedom Jawn, a social media presence from which they elevate mutual aid programs, community events, and local and national stories that they see as educational or funny.

Why they love Germantown

“I love Germantown because it’s home to me. It’s a model example of how local businesses thrive when they support each other.”

Their neighborhood favorites

Ed’s Pizza House
5022 Wayne Avenue

“Every Friday, I don’t cook and I order out — I always get cheesesteaks. One Friday my normal spot was closed, so I took a chance on Ed’s, and the cheesesteak there became my go-to. It’s now the only place in Germantown I want a cheesesteak from. I get them with salt, pepper, ketchup, mayonnaise, fried onions, extra meat, and both American and provolone cheese.”

A & N House of Produce
5929 Greene Street

“My grandmom always used to go here when we were younger, and they’ve been around since I was like 5 years old. My go-to when I go there is usually strawberries, bananas, raspberries, and blueberries for my smoothies.”

Newman’s Grill
5946 Germantown Avenue

“When myself and my partner were stuck in the house, we were doing more ordering out and we got tired of our normal places. One day we decided we wanted something new for breakfast so we tried our luck at Newman’s Grill, and they were amazing. Their pancakes are to die for. They’re probably the butteriest pancakes in Germantown. I love them.”

Uncle Bobbie’s
5445 Germantown Avenue

“I started going to Uncle Bobbie’s when I was in college, because I needed somewhere to do work and I love books. I buy a book at least once a week and I love to be there and drink some coffee or hot chocolate and just read a book and meet people.”

Outside of uncle bobbie’s bookstore with their slogan cool people great coffee and a glass window with a cup of coffee illustrated. Gab Bonghi

Daaiyah’s Delicious Restaurant
5052 Germantown Avenue

“Their lollipop lamb chop platter is my favorite. They use a really great marinade, and then I usually get macaroni and cheese on the side with candied yams. They also make an amazing banana pudding — they use Chessman cookies in the banana pudding and it’s perfect.”

Quality Donuts
5714 Greene Street

“While they are called Quality Donuts, you can get other things like burgers and cheesesteaks. They’ve been there since I was a child. I don’t go there all the time, but it’s one of those things where — when you’re running errands — you know you can get doughnut holes, which is my go-to, or water ice in the summer. I like the mango and kiwi strawberry.”

Jasmine Thompson, urban farmer

Last year, Jasmine Thompson founded Philly Forests, a three-acre farm in northwest Philly, on the grounds of Awbury Arboretum. She farms and offers a CSA program, and operates the Germantown Farmers Market. In addition, Philly Forests runs an urban forestry program, which is working on planting more trees in neighborhoods with a low tree canopy.

Why she loves Germantown

“I was born and raised like four blocks away from where I’m growing right now. I didn’t start appreciating Germantown until I moved back from the West Coast. When I got back I started meeting new people from the neighborhood and I just kind of fell in love with the people here — I love the diversity. I love that everyone seems to be an entrepreneur, and there’s so much community organizing and mutual aid.”

Her neighborhood favorites

Germantown Espresso Bar
26 Maplewood Mall

“I found Germantown Espresso Bar when I came back from California. I walked in there and I was working on food and agriculture-related dreams, and I kept being pulled into different projects and conversations with the folks there. They became my core group of friends. I worked there for a couple of years, and they just have a lovely community energy. My drink is an iced chai latte with oat milk and vanilla.”

Linda’s Vegetarian Village
6381 Germantown Avenue

“It’s owned and operated by Linda herself, and she’s in there all the time. It’s a similar vibe to the coffee shop because she’s so familiar with all of the customers and what they’re up to. I really like their kale smoothies. They’re really well-balanced. She also has these stewed black beans that are really good — they’re spiced really nicely and so delicious.”

Germantown Farmers Market
5501 Germantown Avenue

“I operate the Germantown Farmers Market, so I’m biased, but I objectively love it because everyone that I met at the Espresso Bar years ago, and everyone that I’ve met since, kind of [gathers] there every Saturday. There’s grass, and people have picnics and play cornhole and just talk about food. It’s just a really nice environment. We have live music and Adirondack chairs. It sometimes feels really dreamy.”

The Farm at Awbury
6336 Ardleigh Street

“So yes, my farm is there, but overall I feel like it’s just a gem to have in Germantown because it’s a cooperative space of different food and agriculture projects. We’re there, Weaver’s Way is there, the Philly Goat Project is there, the Philadelphia Guild of Handweavers is there, the Philly Beekeepers Guild is there. It’s just really cool picking everyone’s brains on what they’re doing because you’re bound to learn something.”

Birdie Busch, musician and visual artist

Birdie Busch is a musician and visual artist who has been living in Germantown for eight years. Her projects range from working as a recording artist to designing a beer can for Attic Brewing Co.

Why she loves Germantown

“I love Germantown because it is an incredible mashup of plants, people, architecture, rich history, and stories. It feels like a town within the city and I love how my neighbors challenge me in the best ways to live life creatively with an open mind and heart.”

Her neighborhood favorites

Salam Cafe
5532 Greene Street

“Salam Cafe is an Ethiopian and Middle Eastern kind of hybrid cafe that also has a dry goods section in the back, with strong black Ethiopian teas and herbs and spices. I’ve been really enjoying everything — from a quick falafel sandwich to go or little triangles of their pistachio baklava, which is my favorite baklava that I’ve had in Philly.”

Bistro on the Mall
40 Maplewood Mall

“They’re open for lunch and dinner (and they have a brunch that’s really popular), but what I like to do is sit at the tables outside with a bottle of wine. It’s a really beautiful spot to sit, have some food, and catch up with friends.”

Attic Brewing Co.
137 Berkley Street

“I live up the street from Attic Brewing Co. and it’s a bit like my Cheers. Especially during the pandemic, they have a lot of outdoor space. I like to go and catch different food trucks — my favorite is Burrito Feliz.”

Merzbacher’s Bakery
4530 Germantown Ave.

“Obviously their baked goods are really good, but on the weekend they do this thing called Earth to Pizza and you can order pizza and take it down to Attic to eat. They do classics like a cheese or pepperoni pie, but they also do rotating pies each week that feature local produce.”

Young American Hard Cider
6360 Germantown Avenue

“They serve really amazing, delicious hand pies. They do vegetarian and meat pies, soups, and some really good slaw. You can get a plate with a little bit of everything and a dry cider [on the side].”

Young American Hard Cider

6350 Germantown Avenue, , PA 19144 (215) 406-5307 Visit Website

Salam Cafe

5532 Greene Street, , PA 19144 (215) 660-9780

Bistro on the Mall

40 Maplewood Mall, , PA 19144 (267) 278-3271 Visit Website
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