Where to Eat Along the Market-Frankford Line

There’s a diverse array of cuisines you can enjoy without going more than a block or two from the your stop
June 18, 2014
by Danya Henninger

The Market-Frankford Line connects an amazingly diverse number of Philadelphia communities as it makes its way from the western edge through the center and out towards the Northeast. Food along the way is just as varied, so whether you’re a regular commuter or are just on a one-time trek, there’s a plentiful array of cuisines you can enjoy without going more than a block or two from the your stop.

Here’s where to eat near our main east-west subway line, with two picks for each of 14 neighborhoods from the 69th Street Terminal all the way to the Frankford Transportation Center. Have a tasty trip!

Upper Darby (69th Street Terminal)

Sa Bai Dee: Find some of the city’s most authentic Thai food and sample Laotian cuisine at this husband-wife BYO. From 11 AM-3 PM, three-course lunch is just $8.95 (610-352-1119).

Pho & Cafe Anh Hong: Pick up a banh mi to go or sit down for one of the fastest-served bowls of pho you’ll ever get at this Vietnamese BYO. If you are eating in, don’t miss the crispy spring rolls (610-713-9118).

Haddington (52nd Street Station)

Top Taste: Score some killer jerk chicken and candied yams at this tiny Jamaican counter-service spot, or go for one of the other Caribbean dishes like curry goat or oxtail over rice (215-747-1460).

Sunday’s Best: Alternately, pick this petite Jamaican spot across the street for your jerk jaunt, where whole-roasted spiced chickens are chopped apart to order (215-476-2660).

Spruce Hill (46th Street Station)

Kaffa Crossing: At this hybrid coffee shop and Ethiopian restaurant, you’ll do well with either a drink (try the smoothies) or a meal. Ask for the $5 breakfast special to get eggs scrambled with onions, peppers and tomatoes plus injera bread and coffee, any time of day (215-386-0504).

Manakeesh Cafe Bakery: Get the namesake Lebanese flatbread, which comes in 18 different varieties, from ground lamb to garlic chicken to sumac-marinated spinach with cheese (215-948-9302).

University City (40th Street Station)

Lovers and Madmen: Pair your top-notch cappuccino with the quiche of the day at this organic-food-focused coffee shop, and finish with a carrot cake muffin (215-243-9851).

Han Dynasty: This outpost of Han Chiang’s fiery Sichuan kitchen is open all day, every day from 11:30 AM-10 PM, so get your dan dan noodles and spicy cucumbers for lunch, dinner or mid-afternoon snack (215-222-3711).

30th Street Station (30th Street Station)

The Porch at 30th: If you pass by between 11:30 AM-2:30 PM, Monday, Wednesday and Friday or 7:30 AM-2 PM, Tuesday and Thursday, pick a table beneath the colorful umbrellas and order from an ever-changing lineup of food trucks outside the train station.

JG Domestic: Walk through the huge columns into the train station and head across the walkway to the Cira Centre, where this wood-and-greenery-filled Jose Garces’ American awaits. During lunchtime, ask about the blue plate special of the day (215-222-2363).

City Hall (15th Street Station)

Center Courtyard: On Wednesday-Friday between 11 AM-3 PM, simply pop out of the train station in the center of City Hall to find a different food truck each day. June vendors are Mucho Bueno, Mama’s Meatballs and Dapper Dog.

10 Arts: Treat your eyes with a stop inside the Ritz-Carlton’s marble dome, where the lobby restaurant is open to the public, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. Or pull up a stool at the bar for a luxe martini, since you’re not driving anyway (215-523-8273).

Market East (11th Street Station)

Bank & Bourbon: Enjoy a refined, sit-down lunch or dinner at the new restaurant in the ground floor of the Loews hotel, or explore the impressive whiskey collection if it’s after five o’clock...somewhere (215-231-7300).

Reading Terminal Market: DiNic’s roast pork? Sang Kee’s Peking duck? Border Springs’ lamb ribs? Beiler’s donuts? There are too many fantastic choices not to walk an extra block to this indoor bazaar for a bite.

Historic District (5th Street Station)

Red Owl Tavern: Now that chef Jorge Chicas is running the kitchen at this Hotel Monaco restaurant, the food is as good as the view of Independence Hall. Whatever else you get, don’t miss the yuca fries (215-923-2267).

High Street on Market: Make your way to this morphing hot spot, which is a grab-and-go cafe with unique pastries in the morning (red eye danish!), sit-down sandwich haven during lunch and innovative locally-focused restaurant in the evening (215-625-0988).

Old City (2nd Street Station)

Bierstube: Skillet-fried with plenty of butter, the pretzel nuggets at this German beer hall are hard to beat, especially when dipped in beer cheese and paired with a pour from one of 38 taps. Though it’s dinner-only Monday-Wednesday, the rest of the week sees an 11 AM opening (215-922-2958).

Khyber Pass Pub: You could come for the killer beer selection, but even if you have to head back to work, it’s worth heading down the block to this tavern for the New Orleans eats like po’ boys, muffuletta and gumbo (215-238-5888).

Spring Garden (Spring Garden Station)

Koi: From 11:30 AM-2 PM, Monday-Friday at this Japanese BYO, you can get a “lunch box” with shumai, sushi, tempura, rice, miso soup and salad for $9-$12. Along with the raw fish, the menu includes udon noodles and Korean bibimbap (215-413-1606).

Green Eggs Cafe: As long as it’s before 4 PM, head to this northern outpost of the brunch specialist to indulge in red velvet pancakes or chicken ‘n’ waffles Benedict. Who says you have to wait until Sunday? (215-922-3447)

Fishtown (Girard Station)

Sancho Pistola’s: This is a post-4 PM stop unless it’s the weekend, but if you schedule well, you’ll be treated to the best ceviche in town, Mexican restaurant or otherwise. Get your guac with spicy tuna tartare on top or taco it up to go with your mezcal cocktail or craft brew (267-324-3530).

Paesano’s: The original location of Peter McAndrews’ hoagie joint still slings some of the best sandwiches around. Get any of the creative combos — the Arista with whole-roasted suckling pig is a good bet — and plan to carry the half you can’t finish back on the train with you (267-886-9556).

Kensington (York Dauphin Station)

Pizza Brain: The world’s largest pizza memorabilia museum is a nice distraction from a train ride, but the best part about this storefront is the pizza is as good as the collection. Second-best thing: the Little Baby’s Ice Cream shop next door (215-291-2965).

Thang Long Noodle Restaurant: Philadelphia’s best pho ga (chicken pho) is found a few blocks up from this station at this shop and its across-the-street competitor, Thanh Thanh Cafe. Either will satiate your craving, but this one has a full bar (215-425-0078).

Juniata (Erie Torresdale Station)

La Parada II: Rice and beans “done the right way” are just the start of the Caribbean eats at this market, where you can grab a plate and serve yourself from the well-stocked hot bar, then pile on house-fried chicharrons and empanadas (215-537-4890).

Fernandez Restaurant: Guanabana smoothies complement a menu of Spanish cuisine at this small BYO, where you can order to go or be served at one of several tables. Try the mofongo with shrimp or housemade potato balls stuffed with beef (215-744-1083).

Frankford (Frankford Transportation Center)

Grey Lodge Pub: We’re going to cheat a bit on this last stop, because the eateries directly around this station are really not worth visiting. Instead, walk 15 minutes through Wissonoming park or take a six-minute ride on the 66 bus to Robbins Avenue. Your reward will be one of the most impressive beer selections in Philly, plus creative pub fare (215-856-3591).

Tony’s Place: Alternately, make that extra effort to get to this no-frills spot, which makes some of the best upside-down (sauce on top of cheese) pizza in the city. It’s also a dive bar, in case you want to toast to the end of the trek (215-535-9851).

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