Philly food is so much more than cheesesteaks. Let us show you.
Nestled under the Market-Frankford line in Fishtown, on the corner of Front Street and Thompson, is Front Street Café. Walk in and you’re greeted with a beautiful mixture of rich wood and exposed brick, and two floors of wide-open spaces with plenty of seating that are the perfect foil to your usual scrunched-in coffee shops that either only have a coffee bar or throw in the bare minimum amount of seats. And all this in an area of Fishtown that most outsiders probably wouldn’t hang around after dark.
But Front Street Café isn’t your normal coffee shop. They’ve got all the signs of one—good coffee, a display case of pastries, a cadre of hipster baristas—but they also, if you’re not just breezing through, make a great restaurant. Especially if you’re vegan: the menu is laid out that everything is assumed to be vegan, and any dishes with non-vegan ingredients have little pictures telling you what’s in the dish, rather than the other way around.
While brunch service was a bit slow, the food turned out to be second-trip worthy. Despite not being vegan, we do like to try to eat vegan when we can—we already know what bacon tastes like, but what does Front Street’s “mushroom bacon” taste like? (Hint: see below.) We only tried brunch our first time around, but we’re definitely looking forward to a dinner or two here in the future.
EAT YOUR FILL OF…
Biscuits and Mushroom Gravy – The lack of dairy in the biscuits make them a little dense and less flaky than your usual biscuits, but they were still delicious, especially in the mushroom gravy. And, unlike your regular biscuits and gravy (a weakness of ours), you don’t feel like you’ve got a stomach full of cement after you finish.
Smoked Mushroom Bacon – There was one complaint that the mushroom bacon was missing the crispiness of real bacon, but if you can overlook that, the taste is top-notch. A big smoky and a bit sweet from the glaze they put on, this side hits on all the best breakfast areas. If you’re looking for a straight bacon replacement, this probably won’t do it for you, but if you’re looking for a delicious side dish, you’re in the right place.
Big Vegan Breakfast – Get a little bit of everything. Tofu scramble, smoked black beans, porridge bread, a choice of the smoked mushroom bacon or their vegan scrapple (which tastes more like pressed Thanksgiving stuffing—not a complaint) and their oven-fried potato. The potato is a marvel of modern cookery, with small slices made in it before it is baked and then flash-fried, allowing the inner ring to become crispy while the inside stays soft.