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After decades without a proper neighborhood supermarket, Old City is now home to one of the coolest grocery stores in Philadelphia. Riverwards Products operates on Bread Street and has nearly twice the merchandise of its Fishtown sibling.
“Old City is like ‘Fishtown-plus,'” said owner Vincent Finazzo, citing a larger selection in almost every category, from coffee to cheese to pastries to beans.
Finazzo started with a garage pop-up in 2016, then transformed a former fire station just off Frankford Avenue into his popular market, which opened a year later. The second Riverwards is also in a renovated building – a centuries-old former warehouse in a cobblestone lane between 2nd and 3rd, Arch and Race Streets.
Behind large barn-style front doors, marked with a hanging logo sign, a raised skylight helps fill the 3,000 square feet. Interior with natural light.
“We’re just getting started here,” Finazzo added between runs to the storage area as he stacked the shelves alongside his staff. More articles are in preparation. but there is already enough to buy.
Here’s a look at some of what you’ll find as you go.
What is Finazzo’s favorite part of the market? “Produce, of course.” That’s what got him into the business in the first place; He spent several years as a production manager at Whole Foods and also worked with a national product broker before starting his own business.
Philly’s Mighty Bread loaves sit alongside several varieties of Kismet Bagels. Hobby bakers will find flour and other accessories here, with a focus on organic or sustainable products.
An end cap box is filled to the brim with freshly baked pastries from a variety of Philly locations—from brownies and cookies to savory croissants and buns.
The north wall is lined with refrigerated shelves stocking local dairy products, prepared dips and salads, and tons of interesting single-serve drinks. (Sparkling Botanics tea, for example, comes in flavors like elderberry maqui, and Dram makes hemp-infused sparkling water.)
Would you like to take cans home with you? Just turn around and look down the aisle behind the refrigerated box.
If you’re a coffee person, you’re in luck. Riverwards Old City stocks beans from over 25 local roasters, and Finazzo said more are coming soon.
The cheese selection rivals that of much larger markets, with dozens of options from Pennsylvania and around the world. Also available: cold cuts and olives.
Feel good snacking on organic and artisanal chips, veggie puffs, pretzels and salsas.
Grass-fed beef and sustainably raised pork from Stryker Farms in Monroe County, Pennsylvania fill the refrigerated shelves. There are also sausages from small-volume wholesaler D’Artagnan and pre-packaged smoked fish.
Vegetable lovers and anyone who loves bean dishes will freak out over Riverwards Old City’s selection from Rancho Gordo, the heirloom California bean farmer who’s gained cult status for his flavorful harvests.
Vegan dressings are on the same shelves as dozens of olive oil varieties, including the elusive Fat Gold, also from California.
Skip the national brands for your dessert with the collection of ice cream and gelatos from local makers like Milk Jawn and Fiore, the Italian restaurant in South Philadelphia.
The product selection goes beyond the norm and includes products such as aloe vera.
Aside from consumer goods, Riverward’s Fishtown is known for a wide variety of flowers, and the tradition continues in Old City with bouquets from Philly’s Jig-Bee Flower Cooperative.
Behind the flowers are shelves with other items like handmade candles from Mithras in Germantown.
Riverwards Old City at 146 N. Bread St. is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. follow @riverwardsproduce on Instagram for the latest updates.