NFT Philadelphia Roxborough / Manayunk

Roxborough / Manayunk

Referred to mostly--particularly by landlords--as just "Manayunk," this area is synonymous with Main Street--where young, post-collegiate pals and gals can be seen biking down the Tow Path, boozing in the evening hours, and spicing up their prep with a splotch of chintz. The nation's largest agricultural high school--W.B. Saul--is nearby on Henry Avenue.

You'll either love everything or detest most of it. But either way, for the love of burritos, please visit Adobe, one of the city's best Mexican spots. Not into Mexican? Join the post-frat party downtown, or visit the array of toned-down furniture stores and maternity shops, which give big clues to who really lives here--nesting grown ups.


On Our Radar:

Posted By:  Allison Lowrey
Photo:  Allison Lowrey

Adobe Cafe
Adobe Cafe gave away free appetizers and meals at the grand opening of their new location in South Philly. You're probably thinking, "Wow! That must have been the greatest event ever, especially when so many South Philly natives were in a festive post-Eagles-win mood!" You would be wrong. The food--which was "meh" at best--was not the main issue. I mean, our bill only came out to $3.04. The saying "you get what you pay for" exists for a reason. No, it was the little things--the Bee Gees marathon spewing loudly from the sound system, the random strand of black hair shellacked for eternity into our table top, and the garnishing of Diet Cokes with oranges--that led to a lot of wide-eyed, raised-eyebrow Jim Halpert exchanges between my friends. If you're looking to watch big flatscreen TVs at the bar over a pitcher of sangria--or you're a Bee Gee's enthusiast--Adobe might not be so bad. But the Cantina, only a few blocks away, is a better bet overall.

Posted By:  Julius DeAngelus
Photo:  Julius DeAngelus

Manayunk Wall
I've never been to a Soapbox derby in my life but I wouldn't miss this onefor anything! On Saturday, September 6 (gates open at 11 am, race starts at 1 pm) 40 teams will challenge the famous "Manayunk Wall" (Levering/Lyceum Ave) in an all-out race against the clock in a downhill, knuckle-biting, knee-scraping fury. Just being able to survive The Wall at high speed should be enough to gain anyone notoriety but, hey, this is Philly so screw that! Gotta make it to the bottom! With no admission and the possibility of major crashes, what's not to like? Root on your favorites, even if it's just for the name: Cheesesteak Chariot, The Ambiguously Gay Duo, Weed Racer and Dr. Stragebox, just to name a few. There are only four races nationwide so don't miss it!

Posted By:  Meg Favreau
Photo:  Meg Favreau

Adobe Cafe
Adobe might be my favorite restaurant, but it’s in Roxborough. That’s why the first thing I am going to tell you is exactly how to get to Adobe from Philadelphia-proper. Take the number nine bus. You can pick it up from 4th and Walnut or 30th Street; I don’t care. Get off the bus at Lyceum Ave. and walk four blocks north on Ridge. Take a left on Levrington, then take a left on Mitchell. Adobe is the big orange building that shines out like a beacon of delicious hope. Is a restaurant really worth all that travel? Well, how about this: Adobe is loved by both vegans and meat-eaters. Not liked, not tolerated, loved. It’s a place that gives the same succulent care to the seitan fajitas as it does to the duck burritos, a place where the lobster bisque is always, always amazing. They have outdoor seating and really tasty margaritas (which is why I am telling you to take public transport, people). The waitstaff is nice, and the same people have been working there for years. So gather a crew, hop on the bus, and go to Roxborough. Adobe is worth it.

Posted By:  Michelle Sipics
Photo:  Michelle Sipics

Vamp Boutique
We love consignment shops, so imagine our delight in finding a shiny new one during a walk along Main Street in Manayunk. Even for a new, smallish shop, this place already has plenty to pick through, and we're not talking about Salvation Army cast-offs (though we love Salvation Army stores too, don't get us wrong). A quick glance revealed Dolce & Gabbana, Rock & Republic, Miss Sixty, and other tasty brands, with more promised for the future. Sorry boys, this boutique is ladies only, but take your gal in for a (sort of) new pair of shoes and we guarantee you'll have a good day. Jeans, tops, bags, skirts, you name it—it's at VAMP, ready and waiting. And even better, the owner tells us that the store will hold a sidewalk sale once a month to raise money for customer-suggested charities. A consignment shop with heart! We love this place already. Oh, and for you moms feeling a bit guilty about perusing the designer goods with your children in tow, fear not: grab something for the kiddies at Worn Yesterday, just a few doors away. Maybe a new shirt for little Bobby will distract him enough to keep his mitts off your Dolce.

Posted By:  Michelle Sipics
Photo:  Michelle Sipics

The Couch Tomato Café
The Couch Tomato Cafe is fairly well known (even Craig LeBan has weighed in on their pizza), but if you don't often venture into Manayunk, you may not have heard of it. Most people will tell you that the pizza is top-notch, and we won't argue, but the real selling point for us: possibly the largest salad menu in existence. Yes, you read that right: salad. But we're not talking about wimpy little mounds of limp lettuce, here. No, we are talking about gigantic bowls of the best-looking salads we've ever seen, with a "make your own" menu that will take you more time to read than you'll probably spend eating the darn salad once you've ordered. If you just can't get into the bunny food, though, don't worry. The "make your own" pizza menu is just as big. And as a bonus for those of you out there who won't eat anything that once had a mom: we think the Couch Tomato actually has more offerings for vegetarians than carnivores. That may be a first for restaurants that cater to both crowds.

Posted By:  Michelle Sipics
Photo:  Michelle Sipics

Given the success of the original Mugshots location in Fairmount, it’s no surprise that owners Jill and Angie have opened a second location, this time in Manayunk. Mugshots part two, just off Main Street, is on par with the original, but a little less noisy (the Fairmount shop sees more than its share of weekday mum-and-crying-baby combos in this coffee lover’s opinion). The layout is different, with the counter immediately on the left as you enter. With little room to accommodate a line, expect it to stretch out onto the sidewalk if more than a few customers are waiting. But fear not: there’s plenty of seating in the back, once you’ve obtained your preferred goodies. Parking is a 24-hour disaster, as can be expected in Manayunk; take public transportation or alternate means if you can. But the trip is worth it. As with the original, you’ll find a healthy selection of Fair Trade coffees and locally grown goods; “Expect Organic” would be a reasonable slogan. If you’re looking to cool off or recharge after a workout, try a smoothie. Otherwise, grab a coffee and a very tasty bagel or a sandwich, and enjoy the (relative) silence.

Posted By:  Katie Sweeney
Photo:  Katie Sweeney

Little Zesty's
Little Zesty’s is like the first generation American offspring that traded in the mother tongue for the local slang. Although this spawn is located directly across Main Street in Manayunk from its parent Zesty’s Greek Bar and Restaurant, the only ethnic DNA this to-go shop shares is the spectacular chicken gyro. Seriously, I don’t know what they put inside that pita, but it’s delicious. All items are made to order and include all your quickie American(ized) faves: pizza, cheesesteak (or chicken), hot dogs, hamburgers, french fries—you get the idea—not a very calorie-friendly shop. And of course, what would a true Philadelphian in-and-out be without a great array of water ices? Little Zesty’s has plenty to choose from. Although Little Zesty’s doesn’t stay open quite late enough to capitalize on the late-night munchie economy (and why not?), the menu is perfect for grabbing a bite during a Manayunk shopping spree.

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See Roxborough / Manayunk...
Restaurants (11)
Nightlife (6)
Shopping (5)
Landmarks (1)