With its famous food trucks and historic neighborhood restaurants, there’s something for everyone to eat near Temple.
The Temple campus is constantly changing: buildings rise, fall, and change shape every few years (and sometimes months). But the dining options — longtime trucks, shacks, and unassuming spots with deep community ties — have endured. Who knew some of the best kabob, coconut bread and fried chicken sandwiches in town were on their way to the chem lab? Read the guide, plan your next meal and you’ll understand.
The dinner of champions
Since Champ opened in 2015, many debilitating hangovers have been cured (or at least soothed) by a runny egg, crispy bacon, and a generous pile of home fries. While the place had a welcoming dining room in pre-pandemic times, they still manage to serve a large menu of breakfast classics from their take-out window on Cecil. Plus, an iced coffee that rivals that of Richie’s famous 12th Street breakfast shack. And, as a treat for willing early risers or doomed to dawn classes, Champ’s Diner opens at 7 a.m. 1539 Cecil B. Moore Ave.
New barber room
It’s a bit of an old-fashioned place, but maybe that’s your thing. The location is as much a historic site as it is a sports bar and banquet hall, having hosted many Philly music legends over its decades of history, from Patti LaBelle to Boyz II Men. Since 1952, the building has been black-owned and resisted developer interests, providing a lasting little glow from the city’s jazz heyday. Weekly specials aren’t bad either, like Karaoke Mondays, Tuesday nights, Friday happy hour, and an open mic night every Sunday at 9 p.m. The wings are always excellent, especially after a game of pool. 1402 Oxford Street West.
Ali’s Middle East
Ali Ibrahim was a musician (then a handball player then a caterer) before settling in a food truck, and later, a brick and mortar along the iconic 12th Street vendor cobblestone. And after nearly 40 years serving its falafel sandwiches and kabab platters, the stand has become a truly beloved dining spot for cuisine that reflects Ibrahim’s Palestinian origins and time spent in Syria and Morocco. Kuwait. 1835 12th Street North.
During the winter months, when you have no choice but to cross campus for one reason or another, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Step into a big bowl of piping hot beef pho with perfectly thin slices of flank steak at Yummy Pho. Since opening in 2017 in a great location on Broad, this family-run restaurant has reliably offered Vietnamese classics, including vermicelli bowls and bánh mì. With a menu of over 50 dishes, there is something for everyone, vegans and vegetarians included. 2012 North Broad Street.
Elaborate corndogs have finally landed in North Philly with this latest Crunchik’n location. Cover your crunchdog with ketchup and mustard, or sugar, or fries, or pretty much all of those things. They’re sweet and savory, soft and crunchy, perfectly fine on ordering one (but splitting a crunchdog between two people wouldn’t be a bad idea either). All around, it’s the perfect snack for lounging on Beury beach. If you’re looking to top off your heavily accessorized Korean corndogs, Crunchik’n also serves Korean fried chicken, japchae, and kimchi fries. 1428 Cecil B. Moore Ave.
When you’re short on time and the lines at Morgan Hall are excruciatingly long, look across the street to Pita Chip, where the service is fast, the portions generous and the fries deliciously crispy. This modern Middle Eastern is always ready with a bowl of hot falafel when you need it, and for less than $13. Created by Omar Alsaadi and Mouhanad Kabbani, two high school friends from Damascus who immigrated separately and reunited in Philly, this same falafel recently earned a Best of Philly. 1600 North Broad Street, Unit 7.
Located half a block from the Liacouras Center, this Cecil B. Moore staple is a great place to watch the game, grab a cold drink that doesn’t cost a fortune, and enjoy solid pub food. Since Draft Horse closed last year, the actual adults in the area have been left somewhat dry in terms of the robust bar scene. But with its live music program, new outdoor space, and top-notch fried pickles, Pub Webb stood out. 1527 Cecil B. Moore Ave.
A multitude of trucks extend the reach of this Caribbean restaurant and soul food throughout the city, offering polystyrene containers filled to the brim with oxtail, goat roti, jerk chicken, beef patties, fried plantains , candied yams and coconut bread from many street corners and sidewalks. But if you are near Temple, you can go straight to the source. This location is just a few minutes north of the main campus, nestled among Temple’s medical buildings. 1338 Rising Sun Ave.
Raise the cane
You’ve probably heard the news: The chicken fingers game’s top competitor has a huge new location in Temple. Crowds descended on the disco ball-strewn restaurant when it opened in May, and it’s easy to see why. Although the menu is a little strict (fingers, fries, Texas toast, coleslaw and a signature sauce; no more, no less), the simplicity keeps the line moving all day. Oh yes, all day. This place is open until midnight (and until 1am on Fridays and Saturdays), which is exactly when the craving for chicken fingers strikes the hardest. 1717 12th Street North, Unit D.
Step into sushi utopia at this laid-back spot in Girard, where they don’t mess with quantity or quality. Don’t come looking for bells and whistles at Sushi Ya — there are a few tables inside, but no booze, and much of the business is from takeout. None of that really matters, because the fish here tastes remarkably fresh. In addition to simple sushi combos and pieces, the menu features a bunch of creative specialty rolls. Take Sushi Ya’s Godzilla Roll, for example. Who could say no to a huge bite of soft shell crab, albacore tuna, salmon, amberjack, mango and avocado covered in a sweet miso glaze? Not you. 1418 Girard Avenue West.
If it weren’t for Los Jiménez serving up boxes full of tacos, burritos, nachos and quesadillas from their prime location on 12th Street, you’d be hard pressed to find good Mexican food in the area, especially for $10 or less. The truck offers a variety of proteins, from standards like al pastor to even a vegan option made with jackfruit. 1924 12th Street North.
Famous hot pretzels and the best freshly ground coffee
The name really says it all. There are a multitude of places on and off campus to get some sort of caffeinated drink of varying quality and with long queues. But this little shack — still standing by the bones of the Paley Library after nearly 30 years — will always keep you going with a 16-ounce muffin and iced coffee for under $6. 1210 Polett Drive.
Chicken sandwiches in any town cost a dime a dozen, and few of them really fire on full throttle. But, here, in that silver truck parked outside the archaically charming Biology and Life Sciences building, you’ll find one of North Philly’s most delicious chicken sandwiches. Consider this: a thick slice of juicy fried chicken and a large piece of fresh avocado between two soft rolls with a little sweet chili to top it off. This is the maximum performance of the chicken sandwich. Then consider their fried fish burger, shrimp burger, or veggie burger. Lots of thinking… 1924 12th Street North.
The pancake truck
Beloved by students, this mother-daughter duo of 13th and Norris provides the perfect treat in sweet or savory form. All pancakes are customizable, so the combinations offered here are endless. But keep an eye out for seasonal specials, like their Pumpkin Spice Crepe filled with little bites of pumpkin cake. Or go for the classics like the Very Veggie: a crepe literally bursting with every veggie they have on board. 1291 West Norris St.
The concept of this recently launched food truck seems both simple and excessive: a plain black truck focused on square, thick-crust pizzas topped with fun and showy combinations. Not to mention the pasta options, prepared in a massive cheese wheel. But when trying the Angry Mike, which features spicy pepperoni drizzled with honey, they seem to have the right idea. 1924 12th Street North.
The fruit salad and smoothie truck
When you’re in the land of bagels, tacos, and pizza, sometimes all you want is a big bag of grapes. This cash truck serves up pretty much nothing but the ripest, freshest fruit you can find on campus or off and can whip up any smoothie your heart desires within limits. reasonable. North 13th Street and West Montgomery Avenue.