North 5th Street: Five Cuisines to Experience

The North 5th Street corridor running through Feltonville and Olney is an economic driver in the community. There are more than 20 blocks with businesses ranging from furniture stores to pharmacies but above all, there are plenty of restaurants to explore.

What’s most remarkable is the wide array of flavors. Some of these businesses have multiple locations across Philadelphia, but you won’t find McDonalds or Burger King on this strip (and just one Dunkin’ Donuts).

With no flavor missing on North 5th Street, here are five distinctly different cuisines it has available.

West Wing Latino Buffet, 4638 N. Fifth St.

West Wing is open six days per week and closed on Wednesdays. The restaurant opened up on Mother’s Day of 2016 and the Latino buffet has been available since January of this year. This all-you-can-eat buffet comes at the low cost of $7.99. It includes plantains, chicken and beef stew, two  types of shredded pork, mashed potatoes, and both pinto and black beans (above).

There are rotating items on different days of the week, like sancocho (Spanish soup) on Sundays and pork chops on Mondays. Beyond the food, West Wing has a variety of cigarettes and $10 hookah specials.

Just To Serve You, 5132 N. Fifth Street

This is the second location, with the original store on West Girard Avenue. The two restaurants are owned by Nate Fields and his wife Asenath. Just To Serve You provides the area with soul food, customers should come here hungry as the portions are generous.

Dinner options include ribs, chicken (fried, baked, barbecue and jerk), turkey wings and chops, roast beef, macaroni and cheese (with and without lobster), candied yams, collard greens, mashed potatoes and so much more. They also have a seafood, lunch special and breakfast menu.

If there’s room for dessert, your options include peach cobbler, eight different slices of cake and sweet potato pie all of which come from Denise’s Bakery on North 22nd.   

Shana’s Caribbean Café, 5706 N. Fifth Street

Open seven days a week, come here ready for a three course meal; their selection ranges from breakfast to dinner, and they offer large portions. Some of their menu choices include ackee and salt fish, steamed shrimp and various Jamaican patties such as spicy beef and vegetable. The restaurant boasts a unique quality: it serves food you can’t find anywhere else on the corridor.

Their Wednesday special is cowfoot at $15 a meal and on Thursdays, it’s stew peas, ranging from $10 to $12 depending on the size. Top off a meal with rum cake, coco bread or bulla. Finally Shana’s boasts a wide range of Caribbean drink options such as Peanut Punch, Irish Moss and Ting for when summer gets hot. All of the above is available in catering options as well.

The Velasquez Sisters, 5227 N. 5th Street

This isn’t exactly an eatery or a restaurant but more of a stand. The Velasquez sisters own a smoothie store, but on weekends serve up home cooked food on the sidewalk out front, all of which is grilled, never fried. They have pork chops, chicken wings and chicken.

Some other options include chorizo potatoes, a meat and potato mix used alongside many dishes, like scrambled eggs or as a filling inside gorditas, as well as snackable $2 pinchos, which are grilled chicken kabobs. The stand has barbecue sauce and a mild, homemade hot sauce for additional taste.

Oteri’s Italian Bakery, 4919 N. Fifth St.

This bakery is last on the list because it’s all about dessert. This family owned business has been established since 1904 and has four locations across Philadelphia. This is a gourmet dessert bakery with every imaginable treat and select no-sugar options.

From fifty cent chocolate covered Oreos to custom cakes, Oteri’s has everything in between. There are 28 different cakes available daily, as well as 27 holiday pie options. They even offer chocolates and cakes with printed images. If not a pastry, Oteri’s has more than 15 flavors of authentic gelato.

– Text and images by Montana Bassett and Dominic Barone.

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