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Philly Favorites to Help You Host the Best Summer Party

While there are many ways to celebrate summer, one of our favorite pastimes is spending time with friends and family at a cookout or barbeque. If you’re thinking of hosting a party at home, check out our list to help prepare your guests for the best time. From party trays and beverages to games, these are some of the best time hacks you can find in Philly. Visit these places to cut down your prep time so you can enjoy yourself! (You can even replate and pretend you made some of it yourself. Shhhh, we won’t tell).   

Party Trays & Beyond

Everyone loves a good party tray. What’s a party without it?

    • Miles Table (1620 South Street): Utilizing seasonal, local and organic ingredients whenever possible, Miles Table offers a variety of trays. We love the appetizers like Stuffed Brie, Goat Cheese Tort, and Southern Fried Chicken Fingers. You can also get sandwich options including Chicken Ciabatta, Vegetable Avocado Wrap, and more.
    • Matt & Marie’s (100 N 18th Street): The simple catering menu here features Matt & Marie’s well-known deli sandwiches. Try the crowd pleasers Uncle Gaetano’s Turkey with housemade garlic aioli, The Italian Stallion with housemade pickled peppers, or Meatball Parm with housemade marinara.
    • Percy Street Barbecue (900 South Street): Serving contemporary barbeque, this Cook ‘n Solo restaurant makes the ultimate comfort food. We recommend the pulled pork and brisket sandwiches. The house bbq sauce is a must; it provides the perfect zing. Don’t forget to also ask for the cornbread to complete your meal.

Food Truck Favorites

Many of the city’s favorite food trucks will bring their food to you. Choose from a larger menu to cater to your guests specifically.

  • Farm Truck (2139 E Cumberland Street): This truck takes pride in its “farm-to-table” model. They’re serving up healthy all-natural soups, salads and sandwiches. With the ability to feed anywhere from 50 to 500 people, they’ll travel up to two hours to bring their kitchen to you.
  • 2Street Sammies (Pennsport): Enjoy locally-inspired delicious food for any occasion. Must-try sandwiches include the BBQ Roast Pork, Eggplant Sammie, and Pulled Chicken Jawn. As if the food weren’t good enough, they also serve those in need with a percent of proceeds benefiting Philabundance.
  • Poi Dog Philly (102 S 21st Street): Specializing in Hawaiian street food, Poi Dog recommends Plate Lunches for your guests. These includes rice, macaroni salad and your choice of Kalua Pig or Machi Nori Fried Chicken. Pick from extra add-ons including tacos, pupus, and sweets.

Vegetarian & Vegan Options

Most people think of hamburgers and hot dogs for summer cookouts. With dietary restrictions and health awareness moving to the forefront of health, these veg options make planning an ease.

  • Miss Rachel’s Pantry (1938 S Chadwick Street): Indulge in popular dishes with a premiere  vegan twist. Try the mini sweet potato banh mis, cashew cheese plates, and hearts of palm “crab” cake bites with horseradish aioli. Made with fresh ingredients, this homestyle vegan food comes beautifully presented. You can even let them pick the menu for you!
  • Grateful Plate (167 Shurs Lane): Whether you’re diabetic, vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, or nightshade-free, let these personal chefs whip up a meal right in front of your eyes! They can create a customized food experience for you and any amount of guests. Leave all the work to them: planning, shopping, cooking, and cleaning. Just enjoy!
  • Mama’s Vegetarian (18 S 20th Street): Mama’s is known for their falafel, which luckily is available for catering! Get other Middle Eastern favorites like hummus, assorted salads, fried soy “meat” balls, and delicious desserts.

Simplify Side Dishes

If you’re simply grilling, making a variety of sides can be a hassle. Cut down time by picking up these delicious dishes. The best part is that many of our favorites are also one-stop shops for amazing pizzas and sandwiches.

  • Couch Tomato (102 Rector Street): This Manayunk cafe offers a wide selection of creative craft salads. Portions and pricing vary from $36.99 for 5-9 servings to $59.99 for a large 10-15 portion. Our favorite is the Strawberry Fields Forever salad with strawberries, almonds, toasted coconut, and chicken. A flexible bonus is that any of the salads can be made into wraps.
  • Palm Tree Gourmet (901 S 2nd Street): This local market has it all. Choose from a variety of cold salads including vegetable pasta salad, roasted chicken salad, tortellini salad, potato salad, and more.
  • Andro’s (2063 Lombard Street): Serve up gourmet appetizers and sides from Andro’s, who got his start in Reading Terminal Market. After much success, he now serves the Rittenhouse neighborhood. Try the couscous, beet & blue cheese salad, or traditional spanakopita.

Make a Killer Cheese Board

Create the best cheese board by visiting the knowledgeable cheesemongers in town. From local curds to famous international varieties, these shops carry the best of the best.

  • Di Bruno Bros. (multiple locations): This popular shop is a Philly staple in Rittenhouse Square, South Philly’s Italian Market, and Ardmore. Strike up a conversation with the educated cheesemongers behind the counter. They can guide you to ways to impress your guests.
  • The Chestnut Hill Cheese Shop (8509 Germantown Avenue): With a wide selection of well-known cheese, as well as local cheeses, this Chestnut Hill location is a one-stop shop. Explore accompaniments such as house-blended coffees, international condiments, and over 50 varieties of crackers.
  • Valley Shepherd Creamery (1902 E Passyunk Avenue): Located inside Reading Terminal Market, this stand features some of the finest cheeses from the Northeast. Geta taste and turn your favorite choice into a delicious Meltkraft grilled cheese while you’re making your picks. You can even attend cheesemaking classes on their farm in Long Valley, NJ.

Beverages Pairings

While food is often the star of the party, don’t forget your a six-pack or case of cold ones in the summer heat!

  • The Foodery (multiple locations): With four locations in the city and PA suburbs, craft beer is always nearby at The Foodery. As the original bottle shop in Philly, they have more than 2,000 beers. Each month features a new brewery where you can buy a six-pack for $9.99 all month long.
  • Food & Friends (multiple locations): This neighborhood grocer offers more than 500 different beers. Select between craft, import and domestic varieties at either their Society Hill or Rittenhouse locations.
  • Pinot Boutique (227 Market St): This know-it-all boutique is perfect for all your vino needs. They carry wines (that you can taste at the bar while you shop), wine accessories, and more. Owner Dan’s favorites include Paradocx Vineyard; we love their wine paint cans! If you’re crunched for time, try their new wine delivery service within city limits.
  • Chaddsford Winery (632 Baltimore Pike): While it’s not technically in Philly, Chaddsford was a must for this list. Their varietals of  approachable, food-friendly wines are perfect for a summer get together.


With your hands full, make entertaining your guests a breeze. Check out some of our favorite family-friendly DIY cookout games to enjoy under the sun. We love the Jumbo Jenga, Outdoor Twister, Ladder Golf and more.


Where are your go-to spots to help you put together a cookout? Share how you prepare for parties in the comments sections below!