If you’re anything like us, you rely on corner stores. Maybe it’s because of their convenience or because there are only three grapes in your fridge right now. West Philly’s Honeysuckle Provisions checks all the boxes of a neighborhood counter spot selling breakfast, sandwiches, and beef patties. But this is no typical corner store. Honeysuckle is a destination—the only place in Philly where you can eat your favorite hoagie at noon and come back for a tasting menu experience that'll have you arguing about Young Jeezy over truffle and egg toast.
The Afro-centric cafe and grocer stands out because of its emphasis on sourcing ingredients from Black producers and highlighting Black foodways. A chalkboard on the sidewalk advertises dishes like South Carolina grits and eggs. Inside, pictures from the owners' farm, soul food books, and black-eyed peas line the walls. We want to buy everything in sight, from the earth-toned “F.A.M.” shirts to the moist plantain snack cakes and loaves of “yamz” bread. Even when we narrow our choices down to the maple sage sausage sandwich or the turkey “dolla hoagie,” the smell of buttery grits always leads us to find an extra closet in our stomachs.
Decisions go out the window at dinner, though. The chefs at Honeysuckle Provisions offer a $95 five-course tasting menu right in the shop. Every detail is considered, down to the menu written out as a poem and the ceramic cups molded after one of the owner’s hands. The meal might start in the kitchen with homemade wine and a casual history lesson about trifoliate oranges growing in West Philly. Each course comes with a story, like a nod to grocery store roots via "yamz" bread toast with soft scrambled eggs, smoky pork jam, pear, and truffle. But this isn't just high-concept food without any taste payoff. A plate of fried chicken with biscuity breading stuck with us the whole meal, even during our second dessert—a not-sweet Ghanaian double chocolate cake with plantain foam, jam, and dust.
Honeysuckle maintains a consistency of excellence in everything they do. There’s no drop-off in quality between the daytime snacks and sandwiches, the curated grocery staples, or the intimate dinners inspired by Black history and art. So you could spend $7 or $95 and still get everything you need (and more).
Plantain Snack Cake
The top layer of this moist cake has sliced plantains. So you get fruit in every bite. Eat this in the morning with your coffee, or. as a snack between meetings, or inside the cafe while ordering 10 more.
Sausage, Egg, and Cheese Sandwich
There’s a holiday theory that sweet potatoes can pretty much mix with anything on the plate. We’re not sure if Honeysuckle is testing the range of sweet potatoes as well, but they put a mound of it between maple sage sausage (or black-eyed peas scrapple), cooper sharp, and eggs–and it really, really works.
Honeysuckle serves lots of good things wrapped in or sandwiched between dough. And this pouch of spicy, smoked collard greens and eggs in a flaky crust is right up there with the best of them. It’s also the quickest grab-and-go option for breakfast outside of the pastries.
This hoagie takes us back to a time when the corner store was the end-all-be-all for hoagies and cheesesteaks, and they only cost a dollar (now it’s $12). It layers turkey, havarti, LTO, and benne seed mayo on a benne seed roll that Honeysuckle bakes themselves. The sandwich has enough herb and pepper hoagie dressing and benne seed mayo to avoid any dryness. And if you’re a vegetarian, or even if you’re not, try the smoked turnip option.
This is better than any lemonade or citrusy beverage we’ve ever had. We’d deeply consider subscribing to monthly jug deliveries if Honeysuckle had the option. It has a subtle hint of vanilla and it’s not overly tart or sweet.
Most people see the words "tasting menu" and assume they're in for a procession of tiny, soulless dishes. But the $95 dinner inside Honeysuckle's shop is much more dynamic and fun. You'll take trips to the kitchen, talk about kombucha fermentation, and maybe learn about the Ghanaian chocolate industry. Dishes are finessed but personal—shifting from garden greens with mushrooms pickled in mushroom garum to an incredible play on yakamein with homemade whole wheat ramen noodles. The BYOB meal feels like a two-and-a-half hour conversation over great food. And the time really flies.