Passport PHL is back! During Immigrant Heritage Month this June, Philadelphia residents are encouraged to explore the city’s diverse neighborhoods and businesses. In the Oxford Circle neighborhood of Northeast Philadelphia, four immigrant-owned businesses will be participating in Passport PHL.
What is Passport PHL and how does it work?
Stop by one of the four participating restaurants to pick up your passport booklet. Every time you make a purchase, you will receive one stamp. Once you have collected three stamps, present your passport at the fourth location for a 10% discount at the restaurant.
What restaurants are participating?
Bisho’s Cafe & Bakery
Address: 2329 Cottman Avenue
Cuisine: Middle Eastern Food
Bishara Kuttab moved to Philadelphia from Jerusalem just five years ago. “It was always my dream to have my own business, and restaurants were always in the background,” says Kuttab, who grew up around his family’s restaurants. “On my dad’s side, they’re all business men, on my mom’s side, they’re all cooks.” Bishara is the merger of the two, with both the passion for cooking and an interest in business.
Bisho’s is offering specials during Ramadan, specifically for iftar, which is when the fast is broken in the evening each day. The restaurant will be offering a full meal, including the date that is traditionally eaten to break the fast, along with homestyle stews, rice, and chicken or lamb. Other specials for the holiday include drinks, including juice options made out of peaches, dates, or almonds. The eatery will also offer fresh kanafeh, a signature dessert for the shop that’s “basically dough on top, cheese on the bottom,” all night during Ramadan. “It’s eaten hot and it’s doused in syrup,” Kuttab explains.
All year round, Bisho’s offers Middle Eastern cuisine, including commonly known items like falafel, hummus, and flatbread, most of which are considered as breakfast items in their culture. “For most people, they think that they’re dinner or lunch, for us these are breakfast items,” says Kuttab.
Address: 7254 Castor Avenue
Cuisine: Latin Caribbean
Sal Nunez was born in the Dominican Republic and bounced around between New York and Boston for years before settling in Philadelphia. Nunez has now called this city home for 20 years, and proudly says, “I’m a Philadelphian now.”
After working in construction and owning a pizzeria, Nunez decided to build a restaurant he is truly proud of. Buccann, a year and a half old Latin Caribbean restaurant, is full of details hand-crafted by Nunez himself, with the help of his son.
“I like to go out and I like to eat good food, so that’s one of the driving forces for opening the restaurant,” Nunez expresses. “I wanted a place like this where I personally feel comfortable.”
“When you say Caribbean, you associate it with Jamaican and all of this, but we’re real Spanish food,” he says. “Latin Caribbean is mostly Cuban, Puerto Rican and Dominican cuisine, which is a lot different.”
The menu includes the “real Spanish food,” along with American foods like steaks, made with a Latin flair.
Address: 6842 Bustleton Avenue
About Pho Saigon:
It has been 15 years since Chuong Le came to Philadelphia, the city he calls “a land of opportunities,” from Vietnam. Since moving here, he has worked hard to build his Vietnamese restaurants around Philadelphia. The Pho Saigon location in Oxford Circle opened just a year ago, but Le believes strongly in community he’s building around these businesses.
“If we work together, we get better together,” says Le.
Pho Saigon serves Vietnamese food with a French influence. Traditional pho, banh mi served on French baguettes, grilled pork chops, and Vietnamese iced coffee are a few of the menu options. “I want people to know that there are more things than their comfort zones,” says Le. The restaurant works to create high-quality food to introduce people to Vietnamese cuisine.
“I know there are a lot of things out there that are very good, tasty, wonderful and actually, with true food, you can experience the culture,” Le emphasizes. “You come to Vietnamese place and you can experience Vietnamese culture.”
Address: 6905 Castor Avenue
About Villa Brazil:
Villa Brazil is a family-owned operation that has been open for more than a year. Edinei Almeida began the restaurant with his mother, brother and wife, who came to Philadelphia from Rio de Janeiro in 2005.
The buffet-style restaurant has a menu that represents “the base of brazilian food,” with rice and beans, along with a salad bar and desserts like flan.