Holmesburg: Sweet Lucy’s Smokehouse Supports its Community

Jim and Brooke Higgins at the smoker.


Brooke and Jim Higgins have traveled the world working as personal chefs and caterers for high-end clientele. Northeast native Brooke even had the experience of working under celebrity chef Todd English at his Boston restaurant, Olives.

In 2003, the couple found themselves a new calling in Holmesburg in the form of a lunch truck. With experienced culinary backgrounds and a little inspiration from their 110-pound Newfoundland, “Sweet Lucy,” the couple took their catering business to a whole new level.

The Higginses' original Sweet Lucy's lunch truck remains parked in the lot outside of their restaurant today.

“Brooke’s father has a business here,” Jim said. “First, we thought we were just going to park it in his parking lot and you know, end up taking it around the city. Then, one day, we decided to open up the window and see if people would come and we had such a good response, we decided to put the restaurant right here.”

Upon entering what appears to be an old warehouse off of State Road, the typical first timer will be pleasantly surprised with what they find inside. A petite blond-haired woman with a red bandana tied around her head will probably be close by, ready to greet you, while a taller man in a black T-shirt and matching baseball cap can be found in the kitchen, checking on the chicken, ribs and turkeys rotating in one of the establishment’s wood-burning smokers. Brooke and Jim’s restaurant continues to leave a mark on those living not only in the Northeast, but in surrounding areas as well.

Jim Higgins caters to several racks of ribs before they go back into the smoker.

“It’s obvious that these people put a lot of care into their food. The atmosphere here is just great,” said Nathashya Nguyen from Hoboken, N.J.

Currently living in North Philadelphia, Nguyen makes occasional trips to the restaurant and said she was happy she discovered it.

“I actually found this place online, read over some reviews and figured I’d give it a try. I was happy I did,” she said. “This is definitely a spot I tell all of my friends to check out, whether they live in the area or not.”

Not only do the staff and customers boast about the restaurant’s food, but the role it plays within the community as well. Brooke and Jim show constant support for local organizations and charities in the area.

“The community here has really supported us. The people in the Northeast, really, you know. We were amazed at how busy this restaurant was,” she said.

Since the restaurant’s opening in 2005, the Higginses have actively participated in supporting fundraisers for pet therapy animals, Fox Chase Cancer Center, Father Judge High School and the Ronald McDonald House. The couple has also generated a great deal of support from the Philadelphia Fire Academy and Police Department.

Since 2006, the couple has reciprocated this support by raising more than $10,000 for the Philadelphia Police Department’s K-9 Unit. They were also able to donate $2,200 for the Police Department’s Survivors Fund earlier this year.

Jim and Brooke Higgins at the smoker.

“We are just a place where people can come to celebrate,” he said. “We try to treat every customer like it’s an important event for them.”

From elegant dishes to family-style home cooking, Brooke and Jim Higgins will continue to treasure the food they create and the city that supports them every step of the way.

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