Philadelphia’s Growing Rep as a Burger Town Challenging its Cheesesteak Icon

Alla Spina’s “The Burgamo”

Quick: What’s the first thing you think of when you hear “Philadelphia food?”

Most likely you thought cheesesteak. The sublime sandwich has been a Philadelphia icon since Henry and Pat Oliveri cooked that first batch of thin-sliced rib-eye on a flat top and piled it into a hoagie roll.

Thing is, Philly is no one-sandwich town. Throughout the city’s gastropubs, taverns and food trucks, you’ll find that locals have also mastered the art of a good burger. Last May, Travel + Leisure magazine even named Philadelphia the second-best burger city in the country.

Watch out Providence—these Philly burger joints are coming for No. 1.


926 South St.

A favorite of the locavore crowd, chef Mitch Prensky’s Supper specializes in seasonal favorites with a quirky and delicious twist. At first glance, the house burger isn’t anything out of the ordinary. It starts with a 10-ounce patty made from Pat LaFrieda beef that’s topped with caramelized onions, cheddar and housemade pickles. Then comes a crispy slice of country ham in place of bacon and tomatoes roasted overnight in a slow oven. The result is a magical burger.

Price: $$$

Hours: Monday, 5-9 p.m.; Tuesday-Thursday, 5-11 p.m.; Friday, 5-11:30 p.m.; Saturday, 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m. and 5-11:30 p.m.; Sunday, 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m. and 5-9 p.m.



118 S. 20th St.

With dark-wood paneling, tile and carved shelves above the bar, Village Whiskey feels like a neighborhood bar from a bygone era. Its basic burger is an eight-ounce Angus beef patty, on a sesame roll with tomato, bibb lettuce and smear of housemade Thousand Island dressing. Should you be feeling more adventurous, you can get your burger topped with truffled mushrooms, Jasper Hill cheddar, or a scoop of horseradish crab salad. If you’re ready for indulgence of the highest order, opt for the Whiskey King. This $26 burger is that same eight-ounce patty, topped with maple bourbon-glazed cipollini onions, Rogue bleu cheese, foie gras and applewood bacon.

Price: $$$

Hours: Sunday-Monday, 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m.; Tuesday-Thursday, 11:30 a.m.-midnight; Friday-Saturday, 11:30 a.m.-1 a.m.



1410 Mount Vernon St.

The newest restaurant from famed Philly chef Marc Vetri, Alla Spina is his take on the beer bars found across Italy. Located off North Broad Street, in the space that one housed a car dealership, it’s a vibrant addition to the Fairmount neighborhood.

Read more: Marisa McClelland, USA Today


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