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South Philly Flavors and Fresh Cocktails Define the 9th and Wharton PHS Pop-Up Garden

While there have been no official declarations, Summer 2015 is the summer of beer gardens. Popping up all over the city, on waterfront real estate, public spaces and disused lots, each of these gardens bring unique offerings to the city’s outdoor drinking scene. The PHS Pop-Up, on a corner just to the east of Cheesesteak Vegas, is influenced by its South Philly locale in the best possible way.

For the 9th and Wharton location, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society joined forces with Stephen Simon and Dave Frank, the masterminds behind Khyber Pass Pub, Royal Tavern, both Cantina locations and the newly opened Triangle Tavern, and opened the most ambitious pop-up to date.

Installing taps and refrigeration is a given, but this one goes above and beyond with a full, open air kitchen that’s turning out an imaginative menu of South Philly-inspired fare like 9th Street Market fries topped with long-hots, broccoli rabe and provolone, South Philly empanadas stuffed with everything you’d find in a roast pork sandwich and a Bobby Rydell caprese sandwich that can be ordered with our without proscuitto.

The six tap system is pouring summertime favorites like 21st Amendment Hell or High Watermelon and Lagunitas IPA along with PHS’s custom-brewed collaboration cider with Dallastown’s Wyndridge Brewery and Farm. But the real draw here are the cocktails. With Tomas Oliver on staff, owner of Groovy Grub, a local juice company, all of the cocktails are made with daily-pressed fruit juices. The margaritas come in flavors like strawberry and pomegranate, and the vodka watermelon lemonade is dangerously drinkable. Even the mint and lemon in the bourbon iced tea are juiced daily.

With plans to stay open until October, the pop-up is planning on bringing in guest chefs from Simon and Frank’s other restaurants for events like Korean fried chicken and whole roast pig nights. And partnering with Groovy Grub there are kid (and grownup) friendly fresh juice popsicles coming on board as well as fruit-flavored frozen daiquiris.

All of this can be enjoyed in a kid and dog friendly corner garden space with views of a mural full of South Philly doo-wop stars, umbrellaed tables outfitted with planters made from old LPs and a fence made from bicycle wheels. Oh, and if you’re looking for entertainment, there’s a oversized Jenga game just waiting to be stacked and toppled.

Currently, you can get food and drinks at the garden from 5–10 PM Monday through Thursday, 2 PM–12 AM on Fridays and Saturdays and 12–10 PM on Sundays.

Photos by Caroline Russock


Tags: Beer, Cocktails, Food, Outdoor Seating
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