“Left of Center”

During yesterday’s torrential downpours, I didn’t think anything could brighten my spirits. But when I cracked open my Philadelphia Inquirer, remarkably, something did. It was an article about the ongoing West Philadelphia renaissanceand, in particular, the new crop of restaurants and businesses along Baltimore Avenue. Given special attention were the Firehouse Farmers Market (at 50th and Baltimore) and my beloved Abbraccio Restaurant (just south of 47th and Baltimore). But the thing about the article that really made me grin was the University City District’s new slogan: “Left of Center” Obviously the geographical-political double entendre is much appreciated, but even more so, as a former advertising sloganeer, I couldn’t be more impressed by the brevity and punchiness of the line. Who would’ve thought Philadelphia was capable of intelligent marketing? After the State of Pennsylvania picked their dreadful new tourism slogan, “The State of Independence”which is not only completely bland, but also a total rip-off of SabbI wouldn’t have expected anything better from the city. After all my ranting about pay-to-play and legalized gambling, it feels good to finally be proud of something Philadelphia’s produced.

On a related West Philly note, we’ve recently started dining at the snazzy new Marathon Grill, which opened last month on 40th and Walnut (right next to The Bridge movie theater). Though the food quality is inconsistent, the digs are something to behold. Perhaps, after the restaurant’s been open a few weeks, and they’ve worked out the gremlins, the food will finally begin to deserve the title of “cooked.” But until then, I’d stick to the smoothies at the Marbarunless, that is, you’re feeling lucky, punk. Or just in the mood for sushi.

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