Though University City offers a wide range of cuisines and dining options, it could still have more. I have compiled a list of possible restaurants that could fill in what University City is missing. So any restaurant entrepreneurs reading, feel free to take my advice and invest in University City!
1. A Great Diner
I find myself saying how badly I wish there was a 24 hour diner on Penn’s campus about every day. Whether you go to it for breakfast or late night eating, a diner is a staple of any “well-balanced” diet. Nothing says diner like a buttery grilled cheese, turkey club, or stack of chocolate chip pancakes, and it’s not only the food that I miss. Boy, do I miss the environment of a great New York or New Jersey diner here at Penn. And no, Greek Lady does not come close to counting as a diner.
2. A Quality Italian Restaurant
I think it’s a problem when people at Penn either get Italian from Allegro or order in Serafina. Sure, Allegro is great for a 2 am drunken snack, but it doesn’t make the cut in about any other sense (maybe besides for their chicken parm). And Serafina is overpriced and not very good (hate to break it to all of you Serafina followers). What Penn needs is a quality, old-school Italian restaurant where you can order great pasta in huge portions. I’m talking ravioli, fettuccine Alfredo and penne alla vodka. Nothing fancy, but the type of food your Italian grandma and her grandma before her used to make.
3. An Italian Deli
This is specific, but I think it’s something that would do very well at Penn. While we are blessed with Koch’s Deli, which provides quality Jewish deli favorites like pastrami and corned beef, nothing says lunch like Italian cured meats. I’m looking for somewhere I can get a great Caprese panini sandwiches with salty prosciutto and sopressata.
4. A Smoothie Shop
While there is the smoothie cart outside of the upper quad gate, the choices are limited and the cart isn’t there half of the time. I’m thinking Penn needs a smoothie shop with endless fruit AND vegetable options. What’s more in style than green smoothies? And why limit only to smoothies? I know Penn students would line up for fresh-squeezed juices. A Jamba Juice type shop would fill this hole quite nicely.