Vientiane Cafe, Sazon Restaurant and Ralph’s Italian Restaurant are among Philadelphia’s ‘first’ restaurants

Amanda M. Rye
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) — Philadelphia is a city of firsts, and that pioneering spirit also extends to the food scene.

Vientiane Cafe opened the city’s first Laotian restaurant in 2002 in West Philadelphia. The family-run spot has been doing takeout and delivery only during the pandemic, serving Laotian specialties like Naam, laab, homemade Laotian sausage and sticky rice.

Vientiane Cafe | Facebook | Instagram
4728 Baltimore Avenue, Philadelphia, Pa. 19143
215=726-1095

Vientiane Bistro
2537 Kensington Avenue, Philadelphia, Pa. 19125
267-703-8199

Sazon Restaurant lays claim to being the first traditional Venezuelan Restaurant in the state of Pennsylvania.

Chef/Owner Judith Suzarra-Campbell was raised in a family of cooks and brought those recipes here when she moved to Philadelphia.

During the pandemic, she and her husband, Robert, have been relying on regulars for takeout and delivery. Judy has been selling her famous arepas frozen so you can heat and eat any time, while Robert is the restaurant’s in-house chocolate master.

Sazon Restaurant | Instagram
941 Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia, Pa. 19123

215-763-2500

When it comes to firsts, nobody beats Ralph’s in South Philadelphia. Opened in 1900, it is the oldest Italian restaurant in America and still using the recipes brought over from Italy. You’ll find favorites like three-layer lasagna, meatballs and antipasto on the menu. The restaurant is also selling quarts of its gravy and yes, of course, they call it gravy.

Ralph’s Italian Restaurant | Facebook
760 S 9th St, Philadelphia, Pa. 19147
215-627-6011

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