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After decades without a real supermarket in the neighborhood, Old City is now home to one of the coolest grocery stores in Philadelphia. Riverwards Produce is up and running on Bread Street, and it’s stocked with nearly double the goods of its Fishtown sibling.
“Old City is like ‘Fishtown-plus,'” said owner Vincent Finazzo, referencing a bigger selection in almost every category, from coffee to cheese to pastries to beans.
Finazzo started in 2016 with a garage pop-up, then transformed a former firehouse just off Frankford Avenue into his popular market, which opened a year later. The second Riverwards is also in a renovated space — a century-old former warehouse on a cobblestoned alley between 2nd and 3rd, Arch and Race streets.
Behind large, stable-style front doors marked by a hanging logo sign, a lofted skylight overhead helps fill the 3,000-sq.-ft. interior with natural light.
“We’re only just getting started here,” Finazzo added, between runs to the storage area as he stacked the shelves alongside his employees. More items are forthcoming. but there’s already plenty to shop for.
Here’s a look at some of what you’ll find when you go.
What’s Finazzo’s favorite part of the market? “Produce, of course.” That’s what got him into the biz in the first place; he spent several years as a produce supervisor at Whole Foods, and also worked with a national produce broker, before branching out on his own.
Loaves from Philly’s Mighty Bread are next to several varieties of Kismet Bagels. Home bakers will find flours and other supplies, with a focus on organic or sustainable products.
An endcap case is filled top to bottom with fresh pastries from assorted Philly outlets — everything from brownies and cookies to savory croissants and rolls.
The north wall is lined with refrigerated shelves holding local dairy, prepared dips and salads, and tons of interesting single-serve drinks. (Sparkling Botanics tea comes in flavors like elderberry maqui, for example, and Dram makes hemp-infused sparkling water.)
Want cans to take home? Just turn around and look in the aisle behind the cold case.
If you’re a coffee person, you’re in luck. Riverwards Old City stocks beans from over 25 local roasteries, and Finazzo said even more are coming soon.
The cheese selection rivals much bigger markets, with dozens of options from Pennsylvania and around the world. Also available: specialty cold cuts and olives.
Feel good about snacking with organic and artisan chips, veggie puffs, pretzels and salsas.
Grass fed beef and sustainably raised pork from Stryker Farms in Monroe County, Pa., fill refrigerated shelves. There’s also sausages from small-batch wholesaler D’Artagnan, and prepackaged smoked fish.
Veg-heads and anyone who loves bean dishes will freak out over Riverwards Old City’s selection from Rancho Gordo, the California heirloom bean grower that’s gained a cult following for its flavorful crops.
Vegan dressings sit on the same shelves as dozens of kinds of olive oil, including hard-to-find Fat Gold, also from California.
Skip the national brands for your dessert with the collection of ice creams and gelatos from local makers like Milk Jawn and Fiore, the Italian restaurant in South Philadelphia.
The produce selection goes beyond the norm to include items like aloe vera.
Beyond consumable goods, Riverwards Fishtown is known for a great floral selection, and the tradition continues in Old City with bouquets by Philly’s Jig-Bee Flower cooperative.
Behind the flowers are shelves holding other items like handcrafted candles from Mithras in Germantown.
Riverwards Old City at 146 N. Bread St. is open 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. Follow @riverwardsproduce on Instagram for the latest updates.