Mount Airy is a quiet neighborhood in the Northwest portion of Philadelphia. Situated between Germantown and Chestnut Hill, Mount Airy is undergoing a “revival” of sorts with many new businesses and restaurants coming to the area. Historically, it has been one of the most diverse and safe communities throughout Philadelphia, allowing it to be a prime location for new businesses.
Over the past ten years, Germantown Avenue (above), the main street that runs through Mount Airy and Chestnut Hill, has transitioned into a place where anyone can find a place to grab some tasty cuisine from the plethora of restaurants along this strip. Here are five options to grab a bite along Germantown Avenue in Mount Airy.
Earth Bread + Brewery
Located in the heart of Mount Airy at 7136 Germantown Ave., Earth Bread + Brewery has been offering up, well, bread and beer, since October 2008. The establishment, best known for its wood-fired flatbread pizza and in-house brewed beers, is unique not only for its artistic exterior but also for its commitment to the local community.
According to owners Tom Baker and Peggy Zwerver, the business likes to buy as many ingredients as possible from local suppliers, in addition to providing a nutritious selection of food and drink to its customers.
The Juice Room
Located at 7127 Germantown Ave. for four years, The Juice Room is a juice bar providing a healthy option for residents of Northwest Philadelphia. Every juice and smoothie is made with a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables.
“This has always been a place where people come with their friends and have meetings,” said store owner Malikha Washington. “This is like a meeting spot. I love this community. I love its mix of people and it just makes me happy being here.”
Washington, who lives about 15 minutes away, said that owning The Juice Room has made her at one with the community.
Mi Puebla Restaurant and Bakery
For more of a traditional sit-down meal, visitors to Mount Airy can get a taste of Mexico at Mi Puebla Restaurant and Bakery, located at 7157 Germantown Ave. Mi Puebla offers a wide variety of authentic Mexican cuisine, ranging from crabmeat quesadillas to steak fajitas.
Even if you are not sold on the classic Mexican entrées Mi Puebla features on its menu, it does have a small bakery that offers fresh baked cakes and pies daily.
The Malelani Café, located at 6734 Germantown Ave., offers a Mediterranean-style menu combined with a South African flair. The cafe gets its name from the South African Tswana word “malelane,” meaning place of palms. The café has been in Mount Airy for just over two years and owner George Drakapoulos has noted a substantial change in the neighborhood.
“This part of Mount Airy is changing,” said Drakapoulos. “That is why we picked this area. There were a lot of people from Chestnut Hill that did not pass the Acme a couple blocks away from here. It was a kind of border.”
Drakapolous said that he foresaw the change in the neighborhood. He added that an increase in businesses will help further the development of that stretch of Germantown Avenue.
Tata Café is a new addition to the Mount Airy community. Located at the corner of Germantown and Mt. Airy avenues, the atmosphere inside perfectly fits with the vibe of the neighborhood.
“My idea to open this coffee shop was to make it kind of like a cozy, nice, warm place for the neighborhood with a touch of European style,” owner Bledar Istrefi said.
This is Istrefi’s second business on Germantown Avenue. He has also owns Trattoria Moma, an Italian restaurant just up the hill from the café.
“The neighborhood has supported me,” Istrefi said. “I like this area. That is what made me want to open the coffee shop.
In just its first year of existence, the Tata Cafe is a nice affordable place to grab a cup of joe.
“People like it here,” Istrefi added. “They keep coming back.”
-Text and images by Ryan Wallen and Bud Knapp.