The Coolest Philly Food Events Happening this May

All the details on Philly’s food festivals, parties, and pop-ups.

So many Philly food events, so little time. / Photograph courtesy of Kensington Derby & Arts Festival

Despite the rude temperatures, it is apparently springtime in Philly. That means outdoor food festivals and pop-ups are coming out of hibernation — and so should you. If you’re looking to lure your offspring out of the house, impress a friend, or convince a date you’re actually worth dating, bring them to these 10 fantastic festivals, events and pop-ups happening in Philadelphia this May.

Go to Tabachoy’s Filipino wine dinner at Mural City Cellars

Chef Chance Aines of Tabachoy, a Filipino pop-up project that often makes appearances in Clark Park and breweries around the city, has a four-course dinner planned at Mural City Cellars on May 11th. Each $90 ticket already includes a wine pairing and service charge, plus dishes like a bone-in pork chop, oysters, and soy panna cotta with caramel, latik, and kumquat. There are two seatings (one at 5:30 p.m. and the other at 8 p.m.) and you can get yourself tickets to either one here. 2011 Amber Street, Kensington. 

Take a cooking class at Old City Kitchen

Old City Kitchen opened in March of 2022 as a multi-use space that hosts everything from cooking classes and kids’ day camp to private dinners and a commercial kitchen for pop-up projects. They’ve got cooking events running all month long, like a demo on May 5th with chef Clara Park who will be making a whole slew of Korean dishes (think KBBQ, various banchan, and a crispy mung bean pancake). If you can’t make it May 5th, check out their website to see all of Old City Kitchen’s pasta-making classes, cupcake decorating sessions, and the rest of the cool food events happening in May. 218 Market Street, Old City.

Cheer for cyclists in the mud while you stand… not in the mud

After a two year hiatus, the Kensington Derby & Arts Festival is back on May 14th from noon to 6 p.m. The event — which showcases derby participants riding tricked-out bicycles through three miles of obstacles like mud and bubbles — supports the East Kensington Neighbors Association’s local business grant program. There will be dozens of artists selling work plus food vendors like Pound Cake Heaven, Counsins Maine Lobster, Mom-Mom’s Polish Food Cart, and drinks from Evil Genius, Stateside Vodka, and Loco Pez. It’s free to enter the derby, by the way. Maybe you should enter the derby? Trenton Avenue from Frankford Avenue to Norris Street, Kensington.

Check out chef Abby Dahan’s Moroccan pop-up dinner at River Twice

Abby Dahan — the longtime pastry chef at Parc and brains behind the The Bake School — is setting up shop at River Twice in East Passyunk for a prix-fixe dinner showcasing Moroccan pastry, salatim, and larger savory dishes. There are a few options for seating — n indoor chef’s counter spot (going for $150 per ticket) indoor table seats ($130) or an outdoor spot (also $130) — as well as a la carte drinks available for ordering during dinner. Make your reservation here for the May 16th event. 1601 E Passyunk Avenue, East Passyunk.

Eat a once-in-a-lifetime meal at the Mann Center (and hang with us)

Foobooz is throwing an outdoor party at the Mann Music Center on May 9th and 10th in collaboration with 10 incredible restaurant teams. Each night there will be a family-style dinner with dishes themed around the question, “What does Philadelphia taste like right now?” Consider this your only chance to eat barbecued lamb from Honeysuckle Provisions, shrimp from Middle Child Clubhouse, and rendang croquettas from Hardena during the same meal. (Except in your dreams, maybe). Read about the full chef lineups and menus here, and get your tickets for this amazing food event before they sell out. 5201 Parkside Avenue, Fairmount Park.

Wander 9th Street for the Italian Market’s annual festival

The Italian Market’s annual festival is coming back on May 21st and May 22nd, grease pole climbing competition, street snacks and all. The free, open-air block party runs on 9th between Wharton and Fitzwater streets from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. If you’ve never been before, expect plenty of great food from the Italian Market’s restaurants and shops plus face painting and live bands. They haven’t posted a vendor map yet but stay tuned for more details on that via their website. 9th Street between Wharton and Fitzwater, Italian Market.

Photograph courtesy of Morgan’s Pier

Party (with cheese curds) at Morgan’s Pier

This huge outdoor bar reopened in April with regularly-scheduled live music from Wednesday to Sunday. Morgan’s Pier has salsa music on Wednesdays, local bands on Thursdays, DJs on Friday and Saturdays, and calmer acoustic stuff on Sundays — plus plenty of food and drinks. We’re looking at you, fried cheese curds and frozen margaritas. Just know that you’ll need to pay an $8 cover charge on Wednesday nights after 8 p.m., Thursdays starting at 9 p.m., and Fridays and Saturdays starting at 10 p.m. If you’re worried about snagging a table, you can always reserve a spot ahead of time here. 221 North Christopher Columbus Boulevard. 

Celebrate the return of the Overbrook Night Market

The Overbrook Night Market is back for the first time since 2019. This year the event is being thrown by State Representative Morgan Cephas and Overbook West Neighbors, and you can expect 30 food truck vendors to be set up on Lancaster Avenue between 61st and 63rd Streets. In addition to food, there will be a live taping of The Realest Podcast Ever and a few different DJ sets. Stop by between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. on Thursday, May 12th to check it out. Lancaster Avenue between 61st and 63rd Streets, Overbook.

Or head to North 2nd Street for the Northern Liberties Night Market

If you live closer to (or in) Northern Liberties, set a reminder to your future self to go to the Northern Liberties Night Market, which is back this spring under new sponsorship. The event is happening Thursday, May 26th from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m all along North 2nd Street between Fairmount and Poplar Streets They haven’t announced the lineup of food vendors yet, but follow their Instagram for more news soon. North 2nd Street between Fairmount and Poplar Streets, Northern Liberties.

Try to get yourself into an Italian American dinner pop-up at Irwin’s

The team at Irwin’s is collaborating with Drew DiTomo, the former chef de cuisine at Amis, for an old-school Italian American dinner party on May 22nd. It’s a one-night-only event and reservations filled up super fast. (We get it, Caesar salad, eggplant parm, and meatballs at Irwin’s sounds pretty great.) But you can always put yourself on the Resy notify list and wait for some bonehead to cancel. Or keep an eye on DiTomo’s cooking projects. The Inquirer reported in 2020 that he’s working on opening his own spot called Romeo. 800 Mifflin Street, South Philly.