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Gong Cha, a Taiwanese boba tea shop located at The Radian apartment retail complex, opened on June 13. Credit: Mollie Benn

Over the course of the summer, new restaurants have opened in University City, while others have closed their doors. Here is the latest on off-campus dining options for Penn students and the University City community. 

New restaurants

Taiwanese bubble tea chain Gong Cha opened on June 13 at 3925 Walnut St. as part of The Radian apartment and retail complex. The chain serves specialty bubble tea drinks and coffee. The location is the fourth in Philadelphia and the first in West Philadelphia. 

New Jersey-based acai bowl chain Playa Bowls opened at ​​4043 Walnut St. on June 17. The chain primarily offers acai bowls and smoothies, alongside juices and cold brew. The location is also the fourth in Philadelphia and the first in West Philadelphia. Playa Bowls replaces Wishbone Chicken, which closed in February after 10 years of operation.

Tropical Smoothie Cafe will open a second Philadelphia location at 3737 Chestnut St. on Sept. 8, serving smoothies, salads, wraps, and more. 

Stephen Starr-owned Japanese restaurant Pod recently returned to University City following a brief stint as a Korean fusion restaurant known as Kpod. The restaurant is now back to serving Japanese food, primarily sushi. Pod opened in 2000 as a Japanese restaurant and converted to Kpod in early 2022 following almost two years of closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Closed restaurants

Acai bowl chain SoBol closed its University City location in June, following the opening of competitor Playa Bowls. It was located at 3736 Spruce St., next to the Quad.

Coming soon

A new food hall is scheduled to open this fall in University City, featuring 16 food and beverage vendors. The food hall, developed by Urbanspace and Brandywine Realty Trust, will occupy over 14,000 square feet of the Bulletin Building at 3025 Market St. Vendors and an official opening date are yet to be announced.

Northern Liberties-based fried chicken takeout restaurant Love & Honey Fried Chicken plans to open a new location in University City in early 2024. The new location will offer seating for dine-in customers, while the original location does not. A location for the new restaurant has not yet been announced.