November 5, 2018 Blog

What you’ll eat and drink at Cherry Street Pier

With Cherry Street Pier’s food and drink options, you’ve got a reason to wander in for every craving. Thinking something really hearty, spicy, homemade and authentically Indonesian? Gotchu. Maybe just a dessert after you have dinner across the street at FringeArts’ La Peg? We got biscuits and frozen delights. Some hearty classic Americana fare to wash down with a craft beer or seasonal cider? YUP! Cherry Street is a great place to grab something and stroll, too, to our neighboring Race Street Pier or along the extraordinary waterfront walking trail that connects the Delaware Riverfront’s hot new pier with the beloved outdoor space All Star, Spruce Street Harbor Park. Remember your winter memories of skating in winters past? The Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest opens for its 25th anniversary season on November 23rd. Here’s a breakdown of the eats and drinks on offer starting right now:


Oh, you haven’t heard of Hardena/Waroeng Surabaya yet? Their 1751 S. Hicks Street lovable living room restaurant is a bona fide Indonesian epicenter of South Philly’s SE Asian migrant community. Ena Widjojo, the culinary matriarch and magician has fully recruited her daughters Diana and Maylia to run the now-booming catering business and storefront. Hardena has been blowing minds since 2001 and winning all kinds of accolades, appearing on the late great Anthony Bourdain’s “The Layover,” and earning a #28 spot on Philly Mag’s Foobooz “50 Best Restaurants” list and a spot on Eater’s 38 Essential Philadelphia Restaurants list from Spring 2017 (plus a James Beard nod, NBD). Think hearty soups, chicken and lamb skewers, curries and stews, jasmine rice, extraordinary tempeh and tofu preparations, shrimp, fritters, lord I’m hungry. An offshoot of Cooperage Wine & Whiskey Bar, a Washington Square staple at 123 S. Seventh Street, is also at the ready with satisfying, healthy, elevated twists on pub fare: pizza and pretzels, burgers and bowls, salads and sandwiches, tacos and Terra Root chips, all in the Cooperage toolbox. Cescaphe executive chef Joe Laporte is ready to display what Cooperage have been doing for years — killing it with presentation and service.


Holy moly, biscuits! That’s right, these biscuits are straight out of Georgia, Savannah to be specific, and born out of the love and care that Alberta “Birdie” Smith put into her biscuits since the 1940s. Birdie’s Biscuits have been devoured at Reading Terminal and now they come to the Pier where they won’t necessarily be rolled out by Birdie’s antique Coca-Cola bottle. These are modern, incredibly inventive twists. Strawberry Lemonade biscuits are strawberry-glazed with lemon curd, fresh mint and lemon zest; Peach Cobbler babies are stuffed with peach pastry cream; and a recent Birdie Biscuit of the Week boasted sweet potato cream with brown sugar glaze and candied pecans. Once upon a time, Biridie’s served a savory parmesan and chive biscuit moment – sounds amazing. Yeah, you can find iconic Philadelphia dessert barons Little Baby’s Ice Cream here, too. Their “World Headquarters” are at 2311 Frankford Avenue in Fishtown, where they just go nuts with experimentation and flavors. Who doesn’t love an ice cream purveyor who promises that “Ice Cream is for Everyone, and Ice Cream is a Feeling.” Preach. On the “everyone” front, in addition to classic milk and dairy-fronted classics, you’ll find non-dairy frozen desserts worth doing a dang jig about. For vegans, they use coconut cream and sweeten the deal with organic agave syrup (HI VEGANS!), and the flavors are no joke: Chocolate Salt Malt, Speculuoos (delicious Belgian holiday cookies somewhere between a gingersnap and a graham cracker), Lychee Lemonade, and Vanilla Coconut Clove. That’s just lately. The non-dairy flavor archive is full of eye-opening and easy-on-tummy concoctions made of dreams: Cucumber Dill, Earl Grey Sriracha, Strawberry Pink Peppercorn, even White Russian. Go to their site and your eyes will bulge at the creativity emanating from these courageously creative flavor scientists. All diets and proclivities are covered at the Pier — Hardena has vegan options and Cooperage will make vegetarians happy, too.


Ever wondered why Philadelphia Distilling named their trademark gin “Bluecoat”? Here’s a hint: “The British are coming”! Bluecoats are the inspiration for the locally-beloved and celebrated gin – the American patriots who wore blue coats, stood up against, and fought the British crown in the Revolutionary War. It’s also just a ridiculously delicious gin, perfect in any number of cocktails with its gorgeous juniper notes: a simple martini with an orange twist, a Bee’s Knees with honey syrup and lemon juice, an Aviation with sour cherry Luxardo Maraschino and creme de violette; or some good old Dutch Courage, a ginny spin on an Old Fashioned. Their tasting room in Fishtown, tucked away on E. Allen Street, is an architectural marvel. While we’re giving out boozy history lessons, Manatawny Still Works based out of Pottstown, PA with a Passyunk Avenue outpost, sources the word “Manatawny” as its mission – “The place we meet to drink” – a Lenape Indian phrase. Master distiller, Max Pfeffer, arrived in Pottstown via Victory and Sly Fox with impressive credentials, including a chemical engineering degree. They don’t mess around with their J. Potts Whiskey, a smooth, unaged white whiskey that uses floral wheat, spicy oats and rye to create a balanced flavor profile. It’s a medal-earning 94 proof sauce that’ll perk up your Cherry Street Pier stroll.


The Cherry Street beer and wine program goes in! A rotating mix of local and less-than-local craft beers is just the beginning. Check back soon for those brews and brewery selections. West Chester-based Artisan’s Cellar, founded in 2009, is bringing the magic of draft wines, smartly sourcing local and national wines that are chosen with purpose – to complement food with the finest of wines. But what I’m excited to see? Local cider giant Kurant! Staples of the East Girard Avenue corridor (436 E. Girard Avenue in Fishtown), the small-batch and hand-crafted cider sweeties have converted a 19th century carriage house into a cidery that’s doing incredible things. You’ve seen their staple ciders, Arose, Earth, Bees, and Viejo, perhaps at your favorite local watering hole about town. But they are year-round experimenters cooking up ciders to complement their locally-sourced hot dogs with Riverwards Produce and Lost Bread Company breads, such as the Autumnal right now, which is billed as “Apple Pie in a glass” with pie spices and brown sugar. And now we’re thirsty.

Open year-round with a bar that opens at 5PM with a last call at 9:45PM, Cherry Street Pier food and drink options are ideal for a waterfront excursion. With vast and varied seating options, killer views, intriguing art everywhere, and interactive art installations, you and your friends (or dates) can stroll with a cocktail until you’re hungry for hearty Indonesian food or Cooperage classics, then make it a triple with a biscuit or frosty treat.