Largely ignored by city tourism agencies, Southwest Philadelphia has a number of notable attractions and eateries, from Bartram’s Garden to a variety of African restaurants on Woodland Avenue. Much of it can be easy to miss, but if you take your time, you may smell anything from the roses at Flowers by Dante on 63rd Street to the greasy cheesesteaks at Lu and Lou’s ambulance-converted-food-truck on Essington Avenue. Southwest Philadelphia is filled with neighborhood stores and services that deserve a turn in the spotlight.
1. Louis Berney has been running Lu and Lou’s Hot Dogs (above) out of a refurbished ambulance for the past four years. With the help of his wife he caters mostly to truckers traveling along Essington Avenue, and he says his best selling item is homemade meatballs and gravy.
2. With the help of his wife, Jim Schatzman runs Flowers by Dante at 2601 S. 63rd St. He said he has been working in the shop since he was 10 years old, but recently inherited the shop from its original owner.
3. Staff member Christene Touglo learned to braid hair in Togo, West Africa where she was born. She moved to the United States about 10 years ago and she has worked at Peace African Hair Braiding for the past four years.
4. At the Kingsessing branch public library, community members can utilize many services including the free computer lab and regular healthy cooking classes.
5. At Hibachi Grill & Supreme Buffet at 3000 Island Ave., customers can choose from a wide buffet. There is an additional sushi bar, and the restaurant has seating for large parties.
– Text and images by Gregory Brandon and Jacob Colon