Feminista Jones

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Feminista Jones loves Philly food.

The writer and social justice activist is originally from New York City, but she fell hard for Philly when she was a student at Penn. After living and working in the Bronx for a decade and a half after graduation, she moved to North Philly a little over a year ago, and has embraced her new hometown.

Last month she was named one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Philadelphia” by Philly Mag, and last week she participated in a panel at Thinkfest called “Philly and the Age of Activism.”

In advance of the panel, Billy Penn caught up with her for a casual chat. It was one of the least pressing concerns Jones had, but she did recall her nagging worry about how relocating to a different city would affect her brunch habit.

“I am all about brunch,” she said. “Brunch is a big thing in NYC. I was like, ‘What am I going to do?’ But then I discovered brunch here is amazing. Philly restaurants have everything you can get in New York, but much less expensive.”

She mentioned the Bynum brothers’ South Restaurant on North Broad as an example, citing the weekly prix-fixe Sunday brunch menu — three decadent courses for a total of $25.

Jones’ appreciation of local eats doesn’t stop at weekend morning fare. “Philly restaurants in general are amazing,” she continued. “I’m coming from New York City and I’ll admit Philly has better food. Really!”

One of the things she delights in is the creativity and flexibility of our chefs. “Name an ingredient. Any ingredient,” she said. “In Philly, you’re guaranteed to find it in a sandwich, in a salad and on a pizza — sometimes you can buy them all at the same place!”

Jones did note a downside to the proliferation of cafes, bars and restaurants in previously residential neighborhoods like Fishtown and Brewerytown: more often than not, it’s a sign of gentrification.

“That’s why I moved to the middle of North Philly,” she said during her Thinkfest talk. “I grew up in the hood, I wanted to live in the hood. I didn’t want to be one of those gentrifiers.”

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Danya Henninger

Danya Henninger is director of Billy Penn at WHYY, where she oversees the team, all editorial decisions, and all revenue generation — including the...