LowbrowMarch 29, 2012 at 5:36 am

The Fresh Prince of Philadelphia

Local ingredients and a great salsa selection

Modestly located under the mult–level parking lot on 40th and Walnut is The Fresh Grocer, a single link in the large Philadelphia supermarket chain. Its doors opened in 2001 and have closed never since, operating on a 24/7 schedule. Although the predictable demise of the Pronto earlier this year is unfortunate, it also means that the restaurant now functions as a BYO.

Dress at this restaurant is casual, but the spotty lighting creates a very romantic ambiance that’s perfect for first or second dates with freshmen. The diagonal aisles, glass displays and sparse decoration evoke a modern and minimalist feel, smartly placing all emphasis on the food itself.

The selection at FroGro is really impressive, sometimes varying from Asian to Jamaican in one single ethnic aisle. Although there is no written menu, a server is always eager to make recommendations and help you find your way — as long as you don’t look them in the eyes or smile. Daily specials include fried chicken wings with mac ‘n cheese, California rolls and colossal hoagie platters, all of which are available at a discount after midnight.

We started with a pound of the smoked house turkey ($4.98/lb) for the two of us and paired it with Dr. Brown’s Cream Soda ($0.79). The turkey was very moist, and the soda was fairly wet as well. Our next course consisted of an array of 10 boxes of different Barilla pastas ($1.85), which we bought for the price of 11 and dressed with Prego Natural Three Cheese tomato sauce ($2.99). The dish tasted just as our grandmothers used to make it.

Stomachs full, we forwent dessert, though we did wistfully eye the doughnuts by the cash register. Next time.

Overall, our experience at FroGro was simply enchanting, from entrance to checkout. The food was delicious, the prices were incredibly reasonable and the service was fantastic. The only shortcoming of the Fresh Grocer is that it does not accept bursar or dining dollars. Oh yeah, and the vermin. Otherwise, we highly recommend that you g(r)o.

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