Bacchus Market, on the corner of 23rd and Spruce Street's near Fitler Square is named after the Roman god of harvest, fertility, theater arts, good humor and parties, images complementing the delicious food Bacchus Market cooks and sells. Tracey Wolfson, the owner, learned to cook at various restaurants before opening Bacchus market in 1999. Tracey still cooks special dishes for the fun of it, but Bacchus now has a full-time staff of 10, including an executive chef and two to three other chefs, plus numerous part timers on the catering staff.
At Bacchus Market, open Tuesday through Sunday, morning through evening, you will find fresh homemade food selections every day. Customers will not get bored. Tracey is inclined towards healthy eating so the menu includes at least three daily vegetarian and vegan options, and people with other special food needs, such as those who follow a gluten-free diet, will also find appropriate dishes. And you can stop by for just a quick bite and beverage – coffee, cupcakes, gelato, ice cream and more. Online reviewers have raved about the panini, fresh salads and cookies. Get there too late and they might be out of your favorite food. One reviewer claims to have chosen her apartment for its proximity to Bacchus Market.
The weather, the season, ingredients on hand, remembered tastes or blue-sky ideas are sources of inspiration for the menu. For example one day Tracey felt inspired to make chocolate covered bacon which turned out to be a big hit with customers. Tracey purchases ingredients from small local vendors. As much as possible she obtains locally grown food, but of course products like coffee and off-season fruits and vegetables must be brought in from some other climates.
The catering menu is extensive, particularly in the fish, grain and vegetable categories. Also offered are many choices of salads, pasta, chicken, turkey, beef, pork, sandwiches, soups, stews and hors d'oeuvres. Bacchus doesn't sell wine but catered events can include alcoholic beverages.
Written by Bonnie Eisenfeld for Center City Quarterly
Some customers like to be surprised; others will prefer to know in advance what is cooking. Those who want the most up-to-day information can visit
Written by Bonnie Eisenfeld, a long-time resident of center city Philadelphia, is a writer and photographer for Center City Quarterly, the newsletter of the Center City Residents’ Association of Philadelphia.