2015 BEST BREAKFAST SANDWICH IN PHILADELPHIA:
Pastrami Hash at High Street on Market
A crispy block of hash browns, a pile of pastrami, an egg and Russian dressing, all on a house-made kaiser roll. The only downside to starting your day like this is that lunch will never live up to breakfast.
308 Market Street.
2015 BEST SUNDAE:
Franklin Fountain’s Mt. Vesuvius
Chocolate or vanilla ice cream studded with brownie “boulders,” hot fudge, malt powder and whipped cream. Michelle Obama can wait only so long before declaring war on this caloric eruption.
116 Market Street.
2015 BEST REVIVAL:
The Olde Bar at Bookbinder’s
Turtle soup is back at Philly’s most iconic restaurant address — but this time with a quail egg and a sidecar of sherry foam, some of the many contemporary flourishes with which Jose Garces has rejuvenated this historic bar space.
125 Walnut Street.
2015 BEST BAR EMPERORS:
David Frank and Stephen Simons
The owners of Khyber Pass Pub, Royal Tavern, Los Caballitos and Dos Segundos would be qualified for this award even without their latest endeavor, Triangle Tavern. When you give a neighborhood this many affordable and comfortable spots for dinner and late-night bites, plus cheap drinks in a time when fewer and fewer bars can claim affordability as a core tenet of their concepts, it’s a triumph well worth celebrating.
56 S 2nd Street.
2015 Best NEW WORKOUT CLASS:
Barre Burn at City Fitness Studio & Training
This infrared-heated barre class will make you feel a range of emotions, from wanting to die when the heat reaches its peak and you’re asked to do yet another round of leg lifts, to warrior-princess-proud when you walk out of the classroom alive and very much feeling the burn.
400 Walnut Street.
2015 BEST FREE Workout CLASS:
Yoga on the Pier
This outdoor seasonal series, helmed by beloved local yogi Malik Wilson, runs every single day and goes beyond anything you’d expect from a free fitness class. Instructions like “Twist your torso toward Camden” are just a bonus.
Race Street Pier, Race Street and North Columbus Boulevard.
2015 BEST PLACE TO SEE NEW THEATER:
With the big move to its beautiful Old City venue, Fringe has, after 18 years, officially been cemented as a Philly arts institution. But that doesn’t mean head honcho Nick Stuccio and crew have strayed from their original mission of bringing cutting-edge artists from around the world to Philly. In fact, they’re doing it better than ever.
140 North Columbus Boulevard.
The Arden Theatre Company’s Children’s Theatre
Ask any first-grader: The show that really took the local theater scene by storm this year was the Arden’s production of Beauty and the Beast. The year before that, it was Sideways Stories from Wayside School; before that, it was Cinderella. The truth is, the Arden always nails it, telling wonderful stories in creative ways, speaking directly to pint-size audience members without dumbing anything down, and stacking the stage with real talent that takes its viewing public seriously.
40 North 2nd Street.
2015 BEST SHOP FOR BRANDS YOU'VE NEVER HEARD OF:
My Little Redemption
The clothing here ranges from whimsical to aggressively modern, but it’s all refreshingly different, in part because all the items are from Israeli designers — including Kidem Sassoon, Assaf Pelleg and Mizo — so talented that they give Paris a run for its money.
126 North 3rd Street.
2015 BEST COMFORTABLE SHOES:
On-the-go ladies who prefer to sport comfortable shoes that are also cute (not Crocs) should step on over to the city or suburban location of Erdon, where they’ll find footwear that rivals the comfort level of Danskos, in the form of stylishly clunky Robert Clergerie sandals, Trippen booties and MM6 sneakers.
162 N 3rd Street.
2015 BEST TOY STORE:
Momo’s Tree House
Every lawn game, art kit and ride-on the kids unearth here is handpicked, totally wholesome and — most importantly — fun. Plus, parents and babes alike really dig the free play area and craft table.
205 Arch Street.
2015 BEST DUAL-CONCEPT SHOP:
United By Blue
Here, an eco-minded lifestyle shop (high-quality tees, wovens and accessories) is coupled with an in-store coffee shop so great that you’ll leave thinking it’s just plain wrong that you can’t enjoy a donnoli (that’s a cannoli-doughnut hybrid) and iced hibiscus berry tea during all your shopping ventures.
144 North 2nd Street.
2015 BEST MEN'S VINTAGE:
In pursuit of a Members Only jacket? Move along — Briar only carries carefully selected fashion from the 1800s through the ’60s. To avoid looking costume-y, consult managing partner David Lochner (you’ll recognize him by his tattoos) for smart styling suggestions.
62 North 3rd Street.
2015 BEST WOMEN'S DENIM:
Third Street Habit
Jean-hunting can be a fraught endeavor. To up our odds of walking out of a store happy, we head right to TSH, which has a bountiful selection of both designers (Mother, Current/Elliott, Frame) and styles (skinny, boyfriend, flare), plus a helpful staff to guide us through them all.
153 North 3rd Street.