By: Michael Wechsler
Philadelphia is a city that does food well. One of the elements of our proficiency is that we are not a city defined by just one type of food or one way of dining. Everything from fine dining in a national chain, to intimate meals in chef-driven local BYOBs, to exotic cuisine from inconveniently located hole-in-the-walls can be found here in abundance. Somewhere between the latter two categories is where SPOT Gourmet Burgers lies.
At first glance this small counter-serve burger joint has no frills to speak of, but beneath the surface lies a place whose story and product have garnered something of a cult following in this city.
In early 2012, Josh Kim made the switch from an unsatisfying corporate job to manning the griddle in his new SPOT burger truck. Unsurprisingly, a selection of affordable, interesting burgers made with high-quality top sirloin quickly became a beloved part of the food culture around the truck’s normal stomping grounds at Drexel University. A few short years later, He made the switch from his tiny cart to a cozy Brewerytown counter-serve with seating and room to expand the menu. Although not in the most heavily trafficked corner of the city, SPOT continues to demand a following from loyal ex-truck customers and new fans of their brick and mortar location.
It’s a pleasure to enter the bright yellow storefront on Girard Ave. and peruse the massive menu of innovative burger combos. There is no doubt that SPOT makes a delicious burger, and with a giant menu consisting of interesting topping combinations, SPOT could be a dynamic choice based on them alone.
Josh Kim was not content to just master burgers, however, and also offers other treats like veggie burgers, chicken sandwiches, corn dogs, and award-winning cheesesteaks.
As good as the burgers are, those cheesesteaks might just be where the real magic lies. These glorious sandwiches are not fancy or filled with weird ingredients: they simply use high-quality beef and a high-quality roll. The result is a steak that gets little of the traction that the city’s more famous places but is considered by many who do know about it to be significantly better.
SPOT’s location at 28th & Girard places it in the center of what may just be one of the most unique neighborhoods in Philadelphia today. Brewerytown is both a place that gets talked about in discussions about “up and coming neighborhoods” and a place that is never over-hyped.
Its location seems off the beaten bath at first glance, perched above Fairmount alongside the park. Upon closer inspection, however, you realize this neighborhood is perfectly convenient for everyone. The Schuylkill Expressway is right next door for drivers, bus lines and the 15 Trolley rolls through for transit users, Fairmount Park, The River Trail, and the amenities of the Fairmount neighborhood call out to pedestrians, and extra attractions like the Zoo, Centennial District, and upcoming Discovery Center make this a place for entertainment & education.
Although few talk about the local food scene as “buzzy”, the dining in Brewerytown is surprisingly dynamic and inventive. Well established haunts have been joined by an array of casual brewpubs, sandwich shops, pizza joints, and intimate bistros. Few neighborhoods in the city are at a stage where the existing amenities are generous, but future potential is still growing at a fast pace. It’s an exciting place that can only become more exciting, and the lucky few who live in Brewerytown now will be there to witness it.
For those who want to become one of the lucky few, 3004 Girard might just be the perfect answer. From it’s incredibly central perch right on the main thoroughfare, residents can enjoy easy access to to food, transportation, recreation, and anything else they desire. Proximity is everything here: The trolley rolls up right outside, the 48 bus straight to Center City is but a block away, the I-76 entrance is just down the road, and the supermarket is just across the street. Walk a couple blocks and you’re in the heart of the many restaurants and shops that now call West Girard Ave. home.
Not content to just be well located, the real magic happens inside this sizeable estate. A perfect balance of traditional features and modern convenience lies just behind the imposing brick facade. Tall ceilings, a huge bay window, and open floorplan help make the main floor living space feel open and airy, but the intricately carved decorative fireplace centering the living room adds a sense of intimacy.
At the back end, the gorgeous open kitchen overlooks the dining area and boasts stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, a breakfast counter, and plenty of space for any home chef’s needs.
For those who still need more living space than this level provides, the spacious finished basement contains two additional spaces for maximum versatility.
Upstairs, the lively second level has room for everyone with three whole bedrooms, a nice hall bath, and a laundry room.
The grandiose third floor is where the real luxuries lie. Here, the master bedroom is joined by a fantastic ensuite master bath with soaking tub and large shower. A cozy den opens up to the roof deck with expansive skyline views.
At Home Philly is proud to call this home listing our own! It’s available off the market for $530,000, and we’d love to show it to you! A surprisingly luxurious home, in a surprisingly amazing neighborhood, near a surprisingly fantastic burger shop. If that’s not worth seeing, I don’t know what is!