By: Michael Wechsler
Not all delicious meals in this fair city require the customary rites of a restaurant. Sometimes, we don’t want to wait for a hostess to seat us, or a waiter to come around and take our order. Sometimes, dinner is just dinner, not a production. With this sentiment at an all-time high, a growing number of restaurateurs are eschewing the traditional dining experience to bring us fast food without the drawbacks that term usually implies. Throughout Philly, it is increasingly possible to find locally owned, chef-driven, quality ingredient-laden fast-casuals and take out counters.
Such a place opened recently in Northern Liberties, much anticipated and met largely with acclaim. Love & Honey is a place of purity & simplicity. There’s nothing fussy about the menu. The only meal here is the most beloved and basic of American comfort foods: fried chicken. There’s nothing fancy about its location in a somewhat dreary corner under the El tracks, a couple blocks away from anything noteworthy. There’s nothing complicated about the shop, a mere kitchen and counter with just a few seats along the windows for those with nowhere else to take their meal. All that awaits you at L&H is a friendly smile, picture-perfect food, and a sense of joy.
It’s exceedingly easy to order at L&H: Your choice is fried chicken and only fried chicken. You could choose breast, thigh, or drum, but chances are you’ll aim for a combo with all three and a glistening piece of cornbread with honey butter. That steaming hot chicken has a crisp skin drizzled with just a bit of honey for sweetness, and juicy, flavor-filled meat inside. This is what Popeyes and KFC wish they could grow up to be. This is excellence. The menu continues with a selection of classic sides like collard greens and potato salad (which unfortunately I did not try, but with 3 pieces of chicken and cornbread to gobble down I can’t call them necessities) and finishes with a mouthwatering selection of pie. My sweet potato pie with toasted marshmallow topping allowed for no hint of dissatisfaction.
If you’re not a River Wards local, you may opt to try and score one of the fifteen counter seats available to eat your delicious fried bounty. If you’re creative, perhaps you’re fried chicken will end up with you nearby at an outdoor film showing in the Piazza, at a picnic on the river in Penn Treaty Park, or just in Garage Fishtown (The only bar I know of with a bring your own food policy). These are all decent ideas, but I believe the best one would simply be to become a local!
Northern Liberties hardly needs introducing: this is Philadelphia’s poster child for neighborhood revitalization. In a city of aging row homes and apartment buildings, only NoLibs seems to pair the two with just as many innovative newer construction homes and converted factory loft buildings. The midway point between action-packed Old City and the bleeding edge cool of Fishtown, NoLibs is a destination all on its own with attractions like one of Philly’s favorite brunches at Cafe La Maude, endless fun at North Bowl, and the many activities of the Piazza at Schmidt’s Commons.
We at At Home Philly have just listed a home that has it all, near it all. Whereas Love & Honey is a temple of simplicity, 223 Poplar St. B is a shrine to sophistication. Only two years old and located smack dab in the middle of Northern Liberties, this contemporary condo has an open living space, three large bedrooms and three full bathrooms, and a rare private backyard (could there be a better place for you and some friends to chow down on some delicious L&H fried chicken!?). All this in an extremely sought after location would be enough, but 223 continues to entice with both a competitive price and nearly 8 years remaining on its 10-year tax abatement.
That my friends is called pairing a delicious meal with a delicious deal.