Craig LaBan, the Philadelphia Inquirer’s food critic and columnist, has been paying attention to Southwest Philadelphia and Woodland Avenue in recent months and writing about it in his column.
In October, Laban reviewed the food at Kingston 11 Jamaican Restaurant at 6405 Woodland Avenue (next to WSFS Bank) and raved about it. He noted that social media is being used for good when promoting the local, made to order meals and women of color co-owned business. The restaurant has an impressive number of Instagram followers at 175,000. The restaurant’s co-owner, Abbygale Bloomfield, gives her mother credit for her interest in cooking and feeding people.
Laban also brought a renowned Nigerian chef, Shola Olunloyo, to Southwest to show off the authentic African restaurants in Philadelphia. Olunloyo is the resident chef at a swanky restaurant in West Chester County, NY. Laban and Olunloyo visited African Small Pot and other restaurants with Olunloyo saying he was “blown away” by the treasure of African flavors. Olunloyo has lived in Philadelphia on and off since the 1980’s and admitted to never having visited Woodland Avenue before. “The fact I haven’t been here in all these years is complete malpractice — as a cook and as an African,” Olunloyo said.