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Esquire names Philly tops in after-dark eats

Aug 13, 2012, 11:42 AM EDT
In this Wednesday, March 10, 2010 photo, bartender Sean McGuinness pauses while working at the Resurrection Ale House, Wednesday, March 10, 2010, in Philadelphia. An anonymous complaint that the Philadelphia bar was selling beer that has not been properly licensed with the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board led to raids on three upscale bars last week in which police confiscated three quarter-kegs and 317 bottles of beer that believed to have not been properly registered with the state.
(AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — If you're hungry and it's late at night, Philadelphia is the place to be.

So says Esquire magazine in naming Philly "The Late Night Capital of the United States" in its September issue, which hits newsstands Aug. 13.

For those not familiar with the city's culinary scene, it may come as a surprise that the ubiquitous cheesesteak isn't included in Esquire's summary of Philadelphia's finest after-hours eats.

The magazine cheers the city's "epic jukeboxes and random dartboards, roasted meat and melted cheese, super-hard-to-find beers and whiskey neat — all served up without judgment in an American stronghold for going big into the wee hours."

"And it doesn't hurt that the local love for microbrewing, dating to the late 1600s, shows up on beer lists so intricately compiled they'd be described as curated in more pretentious cities. (Yes, Brooklyn, I mean you)," Esquire says in its introduction.

Among the dozen places noted as tops in late-night grub are The Dapper Dog, a food truck serving grilled hot dogs with toppings like mashed potato and Greek salad, on Fridays and Saturdays from 9:30 p.m. to 2:30 a.m.; Khyber Pass Pub, a hallowed former rock club that's now a Southern-influenced tavern with brisket and po'boys on Leidenheimer rolls flown up from New Orleans, as well as vegetarian wings and vegan sausage, plus a large array of craft beers to wash it all down; and David's Mai Lai Wah, a Chinatown staple that packs in the post-last call crowd for pork dumplings and salt-and-pepper squid till 4 a.m.

The Esquire nod comes days after Saveur magazine published a summary of its 36-hour gastronomical tour of the city. Of note were six things the editors said were foods that only Philadelphia has — from Thai coconut gelato and made-to-order Turkish-spiced doughnuts to Cap'n Crunch fish tacos and house-made burrata cheese.

"Through it all there was a continuous thread of something ineffably Philly: bright and optimistic, entirely unpretentious and yet exacting in quality," the magazine said.