"Water, water every where, nor any drop to drink” is a scenario that those who work in restaurants are all too familiar with: surrounded by fully stocked walk-ins and plates of food being sent out all night long, but never a chance to sit down and enjoy any of it. That is, until after service.
Hunkering down to an after-hours burger or family-style Chinese spread is just the kind of thing that keeps service-industry folks going. Curious to see where the city’s best late-night eats happen, we tapped some of our favorite chefs and asked them to share their preferred post-service spots.
Scott Schroeder of South Philly Taproom and American Sardine Bar will have you know that he doesn’t like to eat too late out of concern for his girlish figure, but when pressed, he’ll go for the oysters and a Parliament Burger at Pub and Kitchen (1946 Lombard St., serving until 1 a.m.).
Brad Spence knows how to keep his crew happy. After Amis shuts down for the evening, the kitchen heads to Tai Lake (134 N. 10th St., serving until 3 a.m.) in Chinatown for whole Dungeness crab with minced pork and steamed frog with lotus leaves.
Tai Lake also has a fan in Rittenhouse Tavern chef and Le Bec vet Nicholas Elmi, who goes for the tropical mai tais and cool jellyfish salad.
After a busy night at Osteria, Jeff Michaud stays in the hood, heading over to Silk City (435 Spring Garden St., serving until 1 a.m.) to unwind al fresco in their beer garden with a cold one and some moonlight bar bites.
Down at Le Virtù, Joe Cicala has loads of late-night options nearby. Some nights call for fried chicken from South Philly Taproom (1509 Mifflin St., serving until 1 a.m.), while other nights he has one of his cooks call for Pueblan delivery (en espanol, por favor, so as to not get “gringoed”). Not willing to reveal the number for his secret late-night service, Cicala did tell us that these guys deliver food and booze all over the city, all night long.
Occasionally Cicala will call in a favor to Passyunk neighbor George Sabatino, asking him to keep the kitchen open a little later for some Stateside (1536 E. Passyunk Ave., limited menu until 1 a.m.) action.
And if you’re in the market for a perfectly medium-rare burger at 2 a.m., Cicala tells us that Grace Tavern (2229 Grays Ferry Ave., serving until 2 a.m.) is the place to get it.