Schuylkill sunrise (Instagram/@georgevargs)

Kensington restaurants struggle with ubiquitous encampments

Dropped suppliers, denied insurance and trash collection service, canceled reservations. Kensington restaurants that purposely opened there to help revitalize the beleaguered parts of the neighborhood — the heart of a regional, billion-dollar opioid crisis — are themselves struggling to survive.  

The city’s seeming solution is part of the problem, Cantina La Martina owners told Ali Mohsen, describing an endless shuffle of tents as encampments are evicted from one corner to the next.

Restaurateurs Dionicio Jiménez and Mariangeli Alicea Saez in front of Cantina La Martina, their James Beard Award-nominated Mexican spot in Kensington, where an encampment has taken over the sidewalk across the street. (Ali Mohsen/Billy Penn)

Shuttered Wawa to become Popcorn for the People facility

The Eagles have found a way to repurpose one of Center City’s shuttered Wawas for a good cause. The store at 9th and South will be repurposed as a production facility for Popcorn for the People, an NJ-based social enterprise nonprofit that employs workers on the autism spectrum.

The store will make snacks for a new concession stand at the Linc, CEO Jeffrey Lurie announced last night, with $1 from each bag going to the Eagles Autism Foundation.

A rendering of the Popcorn for the People facility in the former Wawa at 901 South St., next to Whole Foods. (Courtesy Eagles Autism Foundation)

RECAP: What else happened?

$ = paywalled

• Philadelphia teens had a chance to discuss the city’s “never ending” gun violence with Pa. Attorney General Michelle Henry at a school district roundtable on Friday. [Chalkbeat/Fox29]

• Another trolley crash happened Sunday morning in Kingsessing, but it’s hard to blame SEPTA: a car reportedly barreled through a red light and knocked the trolley off its tracks, minorly injuring four people. [NBC10]

• Philly comes in at No. 15 for global marijuana consumption, with residents consuming 10.6 metric tons per year. NYC has the top spot, followed by Sydney, Australia, L.A., and Chicago. [NBC10/CFAH]

• The former Forman Mills in Northeast Philly has been transformed into Otherworld Philadelphia, an all-ages interactive maze of psychedelic sights and sounds across 50 rooms. Tickets are $35. [WHYY/Otherworld]

• DJ battles, break dancers, and graffiti artists are set to join the annual Elements Of Hip Hop festival at the Francisville Playground this weekend — but organizers didn’t get their usual sponsorship, and are seeking donations. [Visit Philly/GoFundMe]

• Despite his reputation as a slugger — the reason the Phillies traded for him — Trea Turner has been struggling at the plate. But fans have decided to show support with standing ovations, and Turner took out a bunch of billboards to thank them. [MLB/Phillies Nation/Bleacher Report]

• Apparently 6ABC’s style guide has broadcasters saying “down AT the shore” instead of “down the shore” because it’s more grammatically correct. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ [@6abcadamjoseph/BP 2022]


No public events for Mayor Kenney today. On social media he noted there’s an Aug. 15 deadline to share thoughts on Philly’s Hurricane Ida recovery plan, which will deploy $163 million in federal grant funding. A virtual/in-person hearing happens this Tuesday.


🍹 Billy Penn event: This month’s BP Quizzo trivia night lands at annex. at the Divine Lorraine, in partnership with the North Broad Renaissance. We’ll have happy hour specials and prizes for the winners. Space is limited, so RSVP today. (6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 24) 

👩🏻‍🍳 Calling fans of haute cuisine: Chef Christopher Kearse channels Julia Child at Old City’s Forsythia, offering a five-course menu of French dishes pulled directly from her cookbook. $95pp, reservations required.

🐞 The annual Bug Fest takes over the Academy of Natural Sciences, with activities ranging from roach races to lessons in trapping techniques. Tickets start at $21 kids/$25 adults. (10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 12-13, Saturday-Sunday)

📖 Billy Penn is proud to headline the inaugural Philly Story Fest, joining journalists from media outlets around Philadelphia to tell the city’s best stories on stage at the Bok. Early bird tix are $17. (7 to 10 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 5)