Tuesday, July 16, 2019

XIII Marks the Spot


By Sara Blank

The tasting room at Original 13 Ciderworks (1526 N American St., 215-765-7000) brings a splash of life to the otherwise industrial area of Philadelphia's Kensington neighborhood, not too far from Fishtown. While their signature line of dry Sir Charles ciders has been popular in area bars since 2015, in half that time the tasting room has become an innovative yet hidden gem for the gluten-free community and cider lovers alike.

Port Richmond Hash at Original XIII Ciderworks
I visited Original 13 for the first time after attending the Pour the Core cider festival in 2017, when I learned about the new tasting room, and was amazed by the extent of gluten-free options on the menu. When I returned recently, I found this to be truer than ever. Outside, the umbrella-covered seating area sits on a surprisingly quiet street, making it the ideal brunch spot for a summer day. The inside of the restaurant offers a spacious table seating area and a wrap-around bar. With industrial chic d├ęcor, relaxing low lighting, and an entire wall of board games to choose from, Original 13 lends itself to both family-friendly daytime crowds as well as romantic evenings.

As I’m unable to join in on the fun of tastings at breweries, I was excited to enjoy my first-ever cider flight during my first visit. This time around, I enjoyed the flight at brunch, which boasts generous pours of six hallmark ciders. The ciders range in flavor (deep blueberry, strawberry, bone dry and original among them), but all of them maintain a signature dryness that makes it easy to enjoy several beverages without being overwhelmed by too much sweetness.

While the food options are delicious and adventurous (not at all pedestrian brunch options), admittedly we were there mostly to enjoy the adult beverages. Still, we enjoyed a Port Richmond Hash, prepared with kielbasa, eggs, potatoes, Brussels sprouts, onions and peppers. Across both the lunch and brunch menus, many items are denoted as with a “GF” symbol, even pancakes and fries. The staff explained that not only do separate preparation areas ensure gluten-free safety, but also that gluten-containing items do not go in the fryer to avoid any cross-contamination.

Original XIII's lunch menu

Original XIII's brunch menu
I would highly recommend Original 13 as a brunch spot with friends or an off-the-beaten-path date spot, perfect for relaxing and spending long stretches of time enjoying both food and drink. Since the restaurant’s online menu is not always updated, I took photos of both menus to plan ahead for my next visit. With an illustrious history rooted in the heart of Philadelphia—Original 13 is the first cidery in the city—I look forward to them helping to maintain the popularity of ciders throughout the region.
Comment using:

No comments: