We’ve complained on numerous occasions in this space that college kids have it way better at present than we did back in the day. Most of our kvetching has come on the subject of student housing. Back when we were in school, dorm rooms didn’t have air conditioning, and one year, the heat was blasting all year long. When we moved off campus, we lived in a cruddy apartment with drop ceilings, ancient carpeting, and ridiculously thin walls.
But things have changed on this front in a major way, at least in Philadelphia. New dorm buildings have appeared at Penn and Temple over the last few years, with the with all the amenities you’d expect in a high end apartment building. And new off-campus student housing units have sprung up like weeds across North and West Philadelphia, dramatically upgrading the off-campus living experience.
The dining experience has also changed for college students. No longer are college kids willing to put up with mediocre food at the lowest possible price. Dining halls have become fancier, food trucks have proliferated, and on-campus restaurants have gotten progressively higher-end. Perhaps the ultimate expression of the changing college food culture can be found on the 3400 block of Walnut Street, at Franklin’s Table. This food court just opened today in the space previously occupied by Moravian Court, and it’s completely ridiculous.
We took a peek inside today, as you can see in the photos, and discovered a room full of students and university employees, excited about the new dining options on campus. And we must say, we can’t blame them for being excited. After all, Franklin’s Table offers a variety of choices from quick-service establishments that reflect a curated sampling of Philadelphia restaurant scene. Vendors include a new location for Goldie Falafel, a non-food truck version of Pitruco Pizza, and DK Sushi, a Double Knot spinoff. The other vendors are KQ Burgers, an offshoot of Kensington Quarters, High Street Provisions, a modified High Street on Market, and new locations for Little Baby’s Ice Cream and Manayunk’s Juice Merchant.
With apologies to HipCityVedge and Honeygrow, this food court has most of Philadelphia’s greatest hits when it comes to lunch service. And when considered next to the uninspired offerings that were in this space previously, it’s pretty much a night and day comparison. Penn students will surely relish the opportunity to elevate their lunchtime experience, just as their parents have the opposite reaction when their kid comes asking for extra lunch money for next semester. Eh, now that we think about it, maybe things haven’t changed that much after all.