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Black-Owned Shops, Restaurants, Day Spas & More Boom In Philadelphia


PHILADELPHIA, PA (FEBRUARY 2019)(CNBNEWSNET)--Philadelphia is rich in Black culture, heritage and history. The tradition carries on in Screen Shot 2019-02-11 at 12.25.31Philly’s array of Black-owned and -operated shops, restaurants, galleries and bars. Need some serious comics? Amalgam Comics & Coffeehouse. A made-to-measure suit with Super Bowl cred? Damari Savile. Place to spend the night? West Philadelphia’s Philly music-maker-themed Akwabaa Inn.Have a long list of great people to gift shop for? Options for the perfect something abound.

Here’s a traveler-tailored list of some of the city’s standout Black-owned businesses:


  • Black and Nobel Hakim Hopkins, owner. This independently owned store, formerly on Germantown Avenue, has popped up on South Street. African-American books and DVDs, Black and Nobel’s original art and live music make for a creative atmosphere, while delivery—on electric bikes—make this spot more convenient than any online bookseller. 410 South Street, (215) 965-1559,
  • Hakim’s Bookstore & Gift Shop Yvonne Blake, owner. One of the country’s oldest Black-owned bookstores resides at the same West Philly address where Dawud Hakim founded it nearly 60 years ago. Rich in history, proudly activist and entirely family-friendly, the bright shop belongs to Hakim’s daughter now and feels just like a neighborhood shop should: welcoming, old-school and on point. 210 S. 52ndStreet, (215) 474-9495,
  • Uncle Bobbie’s Coffee & Books – Marc Lamont Hill, owner. The columnist and Temple prof’s thoughtful hangout is a bookstore that features both works for children and by ancient philosophers, a living room, a La Colombe coffee bar and a cozy restaurant. The spot takes its name from Lamont Hill’s favorite uncle, who nurtured his love of reading. Inspired by Hakim’s and Black and Nobel, the shop resides next door to the Germantown Historical Society in the heart of the neighborhood. 5445 Germantown Avenue, (215) 403-7058,

Boutiques & Shops:

  • Amazulu Collections – Charita Powell, owner. Seven days a week and for nearly 30 years, this popular Reading Terminal Market stand has represented artists from all over the world and lived the motto, “where cultures meet.” For sale: handmade folk dolls, original paintings, body care, cultural clothing—including Urban Karma, Powell’s pattern-rich clothing collection for women and men—and her signature sterling silver jewelry of her own design, made by Indonesian artisans. 12th & Arch Streets, (215) 627-8667, @amazulucollections
  • Blue Sole Shoes – Steve Jamison, owner. A specialist in fine Italian footwear, Jamison established his sunny Rittenhouse boutique in 2007 to cater to high-end tastes in men’s shoes, socks, accessories—and customer service. Among the designers in stock: Harris, John Richmond, Jo Ghost and Tateossian. 1805 Chestnut Street, (215) 496-9244,
  • Charlie’s Jeans – Sebastian McCall, owner. This Old City spot is known and loved for its staff of fit experts. Slim, distressed, dark, flare, pencil, straight, bootcut, styles for work or for play are all on the menu, so is the store’s American-made denim brand, Sebastian McCall Jeans, named for its owner. 233 Market Street, (215) 923-9681,
  • Cultured Couture Vintage – Erik Honesty, owner. This Mount Airy bastion of quality style is best known for its stock of designer vintage menswear— well-priced Hermes scarves, ties, coats and shirts, Louis Vuitton and Gucci luggage, select women’s pieces and Honesty’s own line of royalty-inspired, sui generis capes. The ensembles here mesh the sophistication of Idris Alba with the rawness of Michael B. Jordan. The destination-worthy boutique also hosts art shows and panel discussions. 6379 Germantown Avenue,
  • Damari Savile – Malcolm Jenkins and Jay Amin, owners. Eagles standout Malcolm Jenkins and business partner Jay Amin opened up their menswear shop along Jewelers’ Row. When the two-time NFL champion safety, named “Best Suit Style” in Sports Illustrated’s “Fashionable 50,” isn’t at practice or working toward social justice, he chills among his boutique’s bespoke, made-to-measure and off-the-rack suits, each one named for a Philly street, and priced from $500. Also in stock: bowties galore. 709 Walnut Street, (267) 218-5760,
  • De’Vilage – Owners, Nikki Parks and Joycelyn Parks. Natural stone and wooden jewelry, Shea butter, natural soaps and body washes from Kenya, Ghana and Nigeria are for sale at this Reading Terminal Market standout. 12th & Filbert Streets, (215) 923-9860,
  • Marsh + Mane – Jenea Robinson, owner. Philadelphia’s first upscale boutique specializing in natural products for Black hair and skin has a vibe—and name—inspired by the Carolina wetlands around Robinson’s grandparents’ homes. The store stocks hard-to-find products from exclusive makers such as Natural Mixologist, Black Josei Press, Bask & Bloom, Anita Grant, Nash and Jones, along with candles, hair accessories, brushes, robes, shower caps, even chic teapots. 529 S. 4th Street,
  • Perfectly Flawless Boutique – Crystal Jackson, owner. More than jumpsuits, rompers, bodysuits and going-out wear, this personal stylist boutique is a one-stop shop for beauty. The airy, welcoming Germantown space offers onsite manicures, makeup by aesthetician Sade Johnson and Brianna King’s Epiphany Beauty Salon for beautiful braids, extensions or affordable wash and curls. 5312 Germantown Avenue, (814) 232-0805,
  • Philadelphia Diamond Company – Kenyatta Black, owner. Visitors and locals can create custom engagement and wedding rings and get appraisals at this much-respected jeweler, located in the heart of the Historic District, just steps from the Liberty Bell. 111 S. Independence Mall East, Suite 612, (215) 607-6700,
  • The Sable Collective (TSC) – Shanti Mayers and Syreeta Scott, owners. More than a shop, this North Philly spot is a resource for women of color. The warm, chic storefront sells holistic body care, new and used books, Ankara-print socks, eclectic housewares, affirmation flag pennants (“I Am Brave” and “I Am Magic”), South African jewelry and Cuban leather bags. TSC also holds book clubs and yoga workshops—and serves as the hangout for clients from next-door-neighbor Duafe Holistic Hair Care, which belongs to Syreeta Scott, stylist to Jill Scott, Ava DuVernay, Questlove, Janet Jackson and others. 3133 N. 22nd Street, (267) 666-0126,
  • Snapdragon Flowers & Gifts ­–­ Tolani Lightfoot, owner. Eco-conscious Baltimore Avenue gem features a range of hard-to-find botanicals, candles and Insta-worthy arrangements for homes and events. Lightfoot and company are known for their terrariums and vertical gardens and have a way with succulents and herbs. 5015 Baltimore Avenue, (267) 209-6066,
  • Yowie Shannon Maldonado, owner and curator. At this gallery-like shop along Queen Village’s Fabric Row, a historic garment district and on-trend retail corridor, the former fashion designer assures each piece in the minimalist space is made independently and feels like the work of art that it is. This rule applies to Yowie’s limited-edition stock of Ashley Hardy mugs, Doucement throw pillows and Cold Picnic bathmats. Maldonado has directed the interior redesign of The Deacon, a circa-1906, Watson & Huckel-designed church getting a second life as a gathering space and Airbnb, set to open in March 2019. 716 S. 4th Street,
  • Common Ground – Phillip Moore, owner. This Midtown sneaker consignment shop is home to some of the most exclusive sneakers in the city and features rare, sold out items from prominent sportswear brands like Supreme. Footwear ranging from Pharrell William’s Adidas to Air Jordan sneakers exclusively released overseas make this store a must-see for any visitor. 1205 Walnut Street.


  • 3rd Element Spa – Tomika Branch and Chyvonne Shackelford, owners. Proving sisters make the best small business partners, this nail specialist and esthetician established their busy, full-service day spa in the West Oak Lane community where they grew up. Popular here: Oxygen facials, gel manicures, detox pedicures, plush waxing, lash and brow enhancements, massages and 3rd Element lip balm and body butter and wash. 7175 Ogontz Avenue, (215) 276-2633, @3rdelementspa
  • BeautifitStrong – Audra Anusionwu, owner. Anusionwu, a wellness coach and health advocate, helps bodybuilders and all her clients achieve their ideal physique. Her intimate East Falls studio offers small group and personal training. 3510 Scotts Lane, Suite 3018, (215) 432-0414,
  • HolNest – Shannan Reese, owner. This co-op of licensed bodywork therapists offers holistic relaxation and rejuvenation inside a private fitness center in the busiest part of Center City. Reasonably priced Swedish, deep tissue, sports and hot stone massages are the specialty here, and an aromatherapist and esthetician are available too—for those who book ahead. 1835 Market Street, 2nd Floor, (215) 668-5403,
  • Push Universal “Push U” Training – Troy Hayward and Justin Taylor, owners. This industrial-cool studio specializes in customized cross training to improve muscle tone, decrease fat, build endurance—and keep clients healthy after their workouts. Each affordable group and personal training session—including $5 classes on Saturdays—is “always a fresh workout,” says Hayward. 930 N. 8th Street, (215) 995-3815,
  • Ursula’s About Phace Rittenhouse Studio – Ursula Augustine, owner. This by-appointment-only spot belongs to an industry vet whose 25-plus years in the business include stints with Bobbi Brown, Francois Nars, Aveda and Jeanine Lobell of Stila. Devoted clients swear by her lash lifts, Sensei Peel, sugaring—but especially her note-perfect makeup applications. 1700 Sansom Street, Suite 201, (215) 557-1562,


  • Amalgam Comics & Coffeehouse – Ariell R. Johnson, owner. Johnson is the first African-American woman on the East Coast to own a comic book shop. The venue, on Frankford Avenue, stocks Marvel, DC, big-time and self-published books for grown-ups, kids and everyone in-between—and serves up coffee drinks and locally made pastries, including comic-book-hero-themed cupcakes. 2578 Frankford Avenue, (215) 427-3300, @amalgamphilly
  • Atomic City Comics – Darryl Jones, owner. Classic comic book store known for dollar comics, manga, back issues, horror, sci-fi and old-school Arcade games such as Street Fighter has been a South Street mainstay since 2001. 638 South Street, (215) 625-9613 @atomiccitycomics
  • Bower Cafe – Thane Wright, owner. Named for the Australian bowerbird, whose males build bright nests to attract mates, this colorful Washington Square West spot introduces a new element to the coffee-pastry-sandwich trifecta: by-the-pound or on-toasts cured meats. Wright, a coffee consultant who’s worked for La Colombe and others, participates in Quaker City Coffee’s reentry by hiring employees who have experienced incarceration. 263 S. 10thStreet, (267) 758-5535
  • Franny Lou’s Porch – Blew Kind, owner. This cozy, plant-filled Kensington cafe offers a menu of espresso drinks named for and inspired by locals’ orders, plus teas, smoothies, focaccia sandwiches, biscuits and muffins with a side of activism, readings and drum class—effectively transforming the spot into both a literal and a figurative source of community sustenance. 2400 Coral Street, (215) 739-2357,
  • Rose Petals Cafe & Lounge – Jania and Desmin Daniels, owners. Rose petals- and whipped cream-topped strawberry waffles? Yes, please, in this cozy Germantown refuge, serving breakfast and lunch six days a week. Rose Petals also offers free Wi-Fi, a child-centered entertainment room, croque monsieurs, salads and tropical smoothies. 322 W. Chelten Avenue, (267) 388-1150
  • Stripp’d Juice Khoran Horn, owner. Locally sourced, non-GMO ingredients combine for organic, fresh-pressed juices and acai bowls at this Old City. There’s even a breakfast sandwich on the menu for solid food-lovers. 263 N. 3rdStreet,


  • Denise’s Bakery – Denise Gause, owner. After a fire closed her 25-year-old North Philly homage to sugar, eggs and flour, she did what any strong baker would do: She rebuilt it. Today, lines once again form out the door and the phone rings off the hook for Denise’s pound cake, pies, brownies, doughnuts, cookies and wedding cakes. 2916 N. 22nd Street,(215) 225-5425,
  • Sweet Nectar Dessert Kitchen – Robin Broughton-Smith, owner. She’s gone from Jay-Z’s accountant to the creator of cookies, cakes, baked donuts, cupcakes and all manner of seasonal specialties in the Art Museum neighborhood. The shop also offers classes and private parties. 547 N. 20thStreet, (267) 318-7143,

Restaurants & Bars:

  • 48th Street Grille – Carl Lewis, Sr., owner. Customers with a taste for the perfect combo of soul, Caribbean and American cuisines—at low prices—meet up to chow down at this beloved destination. Hearty portions of blackened wings, jerk turkey with stuffing, baby back ribs and more are worth the trip to West Philly. 310 S. 48th Street, (267) 244-4764,
  • Aksum Cafe – Saba Tedla, owner. This Mediterranean bring-your-own-bottle (BYOB) spot is known along the Baltimore Avenue corridor for its vegetable tajines, Lebanese lemon chicken and shrimp, Greek lamb chops and tapas. Also on offer: a kids’ menu and weekend brunches of sweet corn griddlecakes, Turkish scrambled eggs, shakshuka and Monte Cristo sandwiches. 4630 Baltimore Avenue, (267) 275-8195,
  • Barkley’s BBQ Tank and Nicole Barkley, owners. Heaping platters of comfort soul food and barbecue come made daily—and never from a can. The menu includes hickory-smoked, sauce-slathered slabs of ribs; apple-studded yams; five-cheese mac; garlicky collards; grandma’s recipe potato salad; fried fresh fish; green beans and, on occasion, pig’s trotters. 2017 N. 29th Street, (215) 763-7427, @tankbarkleysbbq
  • Booker’s Restaurant and Bar – Saba Tedla, owner (also owns Aksum). Serving up comfort food, yummy coconut rice, pan-seared salmon and some amazing Buffalo cauliflower, this fun West Philly restaurant—with both a kids’ menu and a cool bar scene—is named for Booker Wright, a server who risked—and later lost—his life for voicing what it was like to be a black waiter in the 1960s in an all-white restaurant in Mississippi. 5021 Baltimore Avenue, (215) 883-0960,
  • Butter’s Soul Food Kevin Bell, owner. This charming Brewerytown soul food eatery got its name from the idea that their food is so good it melts in your mouth (like butter). Traditional items include fried wings and sides that sell out fast. Home-baked cakes and pies come directly from Bell’s mother’s oven. 2730 W. Girard Avenue, (215) 235-4724,
  • Country Cookin’ Restaurant & Catering – Saudia “Saud” Shuler, owner. With an Instagram following bigger than her North Philly restaurant—almost 250,000 followers—Shuler serves up down-home takeout. Featuring some of the tastiest soul food around, the spot draws in-person fans from far and wide for jerk chicken, buffalo shrimp, mac and cheese, fried fish, banana pudding and oxtail. 2836 N. 22nd Street, (267) 625-3664, @countrycookin1
  • Dos Tacos – Sylva Senat, owner. When former “Top Chef” contestant Senat temporarily left Philly for Savannah, Georgia, he at least left the city with five-chili pastrami, queso- and chipotle-cream-topped yucca fries, and the most loaded nachos ever. All this from a shoebox-size eatery in the heart of Center City. 120 S. 15th Street, (215) 567-8226,
  • Green Soul, Paris Bistro, Relish, South Kitchen & Jazz Bar & Warmdaddy’s – Robert and Benjamin Bynum, owners. Two prolific brothers own not one but five popular venues. North Broad Street’s Green Soul serves healthful, soulful comfort food such as mango jerk salmon, black bean veggie burgers and North African chicken. In Chestnut Hill, Paris Bistro has an elegant dinner menu that offers escargot and French onion soup—and live jazz sets four evenings a week. West Oak Lane’s Relish offers modern Southern cuisine, live jazz Thursday through Saturday and a 40-foot brunch buffet on Saturday and Sunday. Just north of City Hall, spare and chic South dishes up Lowcountry fare (chicken-fried oysters, lobster and grits, hush puppies), old-fashioned hospitality, live jazz six nights a week and a 50-bottle bourbon and whiskey program. Warmdaddy’s is the spot for New Orleans jazz, acoustic soul—Urban Guerilla Orchestra, Jeff Bradshaw, Zeek, Point Blank or Amazin Grace Little perform here—and the food to go with it—a massive menu of barbecue short ribs, skillet mac and cheese, gumbo Ya Ya and more. Green Soul­, 1410 Mt. Vernon Street, (215) 660-9600,; Paris Bistro, 8229 Germantown Avenue, (215) 242-6200,; Relish, 7152 Ogontz Avenue, (215) 276-0170,; South, 600 N. Broad Street, (215) 600-0220,; Warmdaddy’s, Riverview Plaza, 1400 S. Columbus Boulevard, (215) 462-2000,
  • iMunch Café Roger Powe, owner. Chef Nicquan Church has created the good-for-you menu at this popular morning-through-afternoon Brewerytown spot. On the menu: stuffed omelets, French toast, breakfast sandwiches, salmon patties, avocado or turkey BLTs, fruit smoothies, big salads and panini. 1233 N. 31st Street, (215) 236-8624,
  • Jamaican Jerk Hut – Lisa Wilson, owner. One of the city’s favorite casual BYOBs has been serving up famous jerk chicken, oxtail, curry shrimp with sides of roti, cornbread and johnny cakes since 1994. 1436 South Street, (215) 545-8644,
  • Keven Parker Soul Food Cafe – Owner, Keven Parker. Fried chicken, mac and cheese, candied yams, collard greens, Southern-fried chicken wings, smothered turkey wings and other soul food comes from this simmering stall in the Reading Terminal Market. Ms. Tootsie’s, Parker’s sit-down restaurant and lounge, is a few blocks South. Soul Food Café, 12th & Arch Streets, (215) 625-0650; Ms. Tootsie’s, 1312 South Street, (215) 731-9045,
  • New Barber’s Hall Restaurant & Lounge Jake Adams, owner. The New Barber’s Hall operates in a building that housed a 19th-century cycling clubhouse and then a 20th-century music hotspot where legends John Coltrane, Grover Washington, Jr. and The Temptations performed. Today, the Cecil B. Moore landmark is a diverse bar and event space that serves lunch, dinner and drink specials daily. 1402 W. Oxford Street, (215) 763-0369, @Barbers-Hall
  • Reggae Reggae Vibes – Denice Moore, owner. This Kensington find serves Jamaican and American fusion in the form of flaky chicken patties, homebrewed ginger beer and even a jerk chicken cheesesteak. 517 W. Girard Avenue, (267) 457-2970,
  • Shrimp Express II Tom Smart, owner. This small, family-owned spot preps all kinds of seafood favorites—crabs, steamed combos, pasta and, of course, shrimp—platter or sandwich style. 2205 W. Indiana Avenue, (215) 228-3336
  • Tasties – Barbara Dewan, chef and owner. West Philly has known for a while that Dewan has a way with casual, soul food takeout. Now, diners can experience her down-home wings, candied yams and 7Up cake in an upscale, stylish setting where she also offers seafood pasta and custom cocktails. 1212 N. 52nd Street, (215) 447-0281,
  • Youma – Youma Ba, owner. The African cuisine scene is especially rich in West Philly. One notable newcomer is this Senegalese spot, whose Fulani owner brings a taste of Dakar with dibi (grilled lambchops), yassa (spicy grilled chicken with habanero and green pepper), fatata (beef patties), aloco (fried plantains), thieboudienne (fried rice with vegetables and fish) and ginger juice blended with mango, strawberry, grenadine or peach. 4519 Baltimore Avenue, (215) 386-2025,


  • Akwaaba Philadelphia –Monique Greenwood & Glenn Pogue, owners. Prominent innkeepers transformed a lovely 1879 mansion in Powelton Village into an intimate, elegant bed-and-breakfast aimed at African-American travelers. Each of Akwaaba’s six suites is inspired by a Philly musician: Harold Melvin, Jill Scott, Patti La Belle, The Roots, Teddy Pendergrass or Musiq Soulchild. 3709 Powelton Avenue, (866) 466-3855,

Art Galleries:

  • The Bazemore Gallery – Lenny Bazemore, owner. A heavyweight in the local art and real estate scene laid out his Manayunk gallery to conform to the principles of Feng Shui, then invited in artists such as Susan Beard, Stephen Bruce, James Brantley and John Stango to add life. 4339 Main Street, (215) 482-1119,
  • October Gallery – Mercer Redcross, owner. “African-American art is good for everyone” is the motto of this longstanding repository of mostly contemporary black art. This elder statesman of creativity has shared its mission from its Germantown flagships through kiosks and shows across town, long before pop-ups were cool. 6353 Greene Street, (215) 352-3114,
  • Rush Arts Philly (RAP) – Danny Simmons, owner. The elder brother of the Reverend Run and Russell Simmons established an outpost of his famed Brooklyn art gallery and community space at the very top of Broad Street. RAP (for short) opened with the acclaimed show Guerillas In The Midst and continues to put on top-notch shows. 4954 Old York Road,

Just Outside The City:

  • Girls’ Auto Clinic Repair Center – Patrice Banks, owner. Engineer turned mechanic (and author of Girls Auto Clinic Glovebox Guide) has established the city’s first and only women-run garage and has debuted Clutch Beauty Bar, featuring stations for hair and nail services. 7425 W. Chester Pike, Upper Darby, (484) 461-4693,

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