FOOD: Pennport’s The Industry

The Industry is a local bar in the Pennsport neighborhood of Philadelphia, and that is a complete understatement. Maybe it’s actually a highbrow restaurant in the guise of just a place around the corner. There’s basketball on the TVs floating over the bar next to the crafty draught list. The music selection hits on Bad Religion and The Bouncing Souls, among the other punk bands whose stickers adorned your old skateboard. The lighting is pleasantly dim and there are candles on the stainless tables that would seem more rightfully placed in a kitchen.

And that’s sort of the point. The Industry is named in honor of restaurant staff. It’s supposed to be a place where you can kick it after your closing shift and get a drink and something to eat that isn’t a fast food burger. For example, the Sunday Night special is a shift plate, whatever your server is eating that night and there’s a discount only for food service workers (although, we ended up getting it one night without asking—either someone overheard the conversation about our day jobs or maybe it was just that the waiter thought one of us was cute). With your check, you are left a card that includes a sort-of tongue-in-cheek dining advice with a hint of ironic disdain (maybe) for customers. In practice, however, the service is more like you visited a friend at the restaurant where they work.

Now, the menu is slanted towards a Bourdain-y type clientele, who likes finer food, but appreciates a real well-done bar menu. If you want a burger, you get a ground brisket with the standard topping on a solid bun. They offer a pulled barbecue duck sandwich in lieu of pork. For a quick bite with your ale, how about bone marrow? Forget about wings and try some Buffalo sweetbreads.

It’s a direct appeal to snobbery and it works. The Industry can back up everything it is trying to critique about the restaurant scene. And while it is continually rolling its eyes at you, there’s no way that’ll keep you from coming back.

The Industry
1401 East Moyamensing Avenue
Philadelphia, PA