LGBTQ-Owned Shops, Restaurants, More in Philadelphia

Brick-and-mortar LGBTQ-owned businesses span all of Philly. Here, some that strive not just to sell, but also to do good in and beyond our city

LGBTQ-Owned Shops, Restaurants, More in Philadelphia

Brick-and-mortar LGBTQ-owned businesses span all of Philly. Here, some that strive not just to sell, but also to do good in and beyond our city

Not long ago, most of the best-known LGBTQ-owned brick-and-mortar businesses operated in and around the Gayborhood. Many still do — thanks, in great part, to Valerie Safran and Marcie Turney, the married owners of seminal shops (Open House, Verde) and restaurants (Barbuzzo, Bud & Marilyn’s, Little Nonna’s, Darling Jack’s Tavern). Turney, a chef, and Safran met in the Gayborhood and have kept things afloat pre-, mid- and post-pandemic there — all while raising a toddler at home.

And yet, today, LGBTQ stores and eateries span all of Philadelphia, from South Philly to Northern Liberties, Center City to Manayunk. So does LGBTQ Philadelphia history, which you can learn more about by joining a walking tour (or bar crawl) with LGBTQ-owned Beyond the Bell Tours.

This list doesn’t just include what these businesses do and sell, however. It also includes what they do for — their social impact on — the community.

LGBTQ-owned bakeries + cafes

Black n Brew

Black ‘n’ Brew, East Passyunk

South Philly’s BYOB cafe Black n Brew has been serving local favorite La Colombe coffee since 2007 and recently added Mighty Bread to the menu. Breakfast, lunch, fresh pastries, and smoothies are all made in-house, including vegan and vegetarian options. The homey yet hip (and LGBTQ-pioneering for this neighborhood) cafe doubles as a gallery for local artists. 1523 E. Passyunk Avenue

Cake Life. By Carly Fuller Photography.

Cake Life Bakeshop, Fishtown

This bakery has — twice! — made a birthday cake for none other than Beyoncé. But that’s not necessarily a reason to check out Cafe Life. (Ok, it is, but also …) The bakery is proudly trans co-owned — baker Nima Etemadi has made a point of supporting trans and nonbinary staff — sources locally, strives to create good working conditions for its employees and has been a part of Bakers Against Racism’s efforts to raise awareness and funds, most recently for abortion access in the wake of the overturning of Roe v. Wade last summer. 1306 Frankford Avenue

Custom cake from Crust Vegan Bakery.

Crust Vegan Bakery, Manayunk

Meagan Benz and Shannon Roche opened their bakery’s Main Street storefront in August 2020 — while many food businesses were shutting down — in order to ensure they could pay all their current employees. That shop is still open, with a variety of cakes and pastries that are completely vegan, made from as many locally-sourced ingredients as possible. (You can also find Crust baked goods at cafes and groceries around town.) Crust donates 10 percent of their proceeds to local charities that focus on animal and human rights, the arts, the environment and women’s issues. 4409 Main Street

Kylie Cuffie-Scott, the co-owner of Darnel's Cakes, stands in front of a shelf bearing his bakery's name. He is a tall Black man wearing clear-framed glasses, a dark green baseball cap, pink Darnel's t-shirt, and black apron.
Kylie Cuffie-Scott, co-owner of Darnel’s Cakes.

Darnel’s Cakes, Northern Liberties

Kyle Cuffie-Scott sold his cakes and cookies at farmers markets for five years before co-opening a bakery that also serves breakfast and lunch. Named for a cousin who died of complications due to HIV/AIDS, the business is on a mission to raise awareness of the disease. When you order online, you can also put a free HIV test into your cart and pick it up alongside your “Janet” — the same vanilla cake, topped with fresh berries and strawberry pastry cream that Janet Jackson had for her birthday in Philly last month. 444 N. 3rd Street

Soft-serve desserts: a yellow soft serve with mochi, a white and red soft serve topped with strawberries and blueberries, a multi-colored milkshake, and a loaded cup of chocolate soft serve and toppings stand on a table, all in "Igloo" cups.
The Igloo.

The Igloo, Graduate Hospital

Zac Parker and Bill Chlebowski’s soft serve ice cream shop is proudly Philadelphian and LGBTQ-owned. Originally founded as a healthy dessert alternative, Igloo’s self-serve offerings have expanded to everything from custard to churro cones and probiotic-rich froyo. Their history of giving back: fundraising for gender affirmation surgeries, hosting same-sex engagement parties, partnering with LGBTQ+ orgs. As Parker told Philly Voice, “We always try to make sure the community knows we’re part of it.” 2223 Greys Ferry Avenue

LGBTQ-owned sit-down restaurants

Chef Joncarl Lachman, wearing a striped apron and red banana around his neck, sits in a chair next to the chalkboard menu of his South Philadelphia restaurant, Dankbaar.
Joncarl Lachman, chef-owner of Dankbaar.

Dankbaar, East Passyunk

Neighborhood restaurateur Joncarl Lachman and his husband, artist Bob Moysan, have returned to East Passyunk with their new eatery — whose name means “thankful” in Dutch. Lachman joined World Central Kitchen in Poland to feed refugees at the start of the Ukraine war, and has hosted (scrumptious) fundraisers to support the hunger-fighting organization’s work around the world. 1911 East Passyunk

Drag performer Martha Graham Cracker poses against a colorful striped backdrop for the cover of Mission Taqueria's ¡Saluds Dudes! calendar. Reaching toward her are hands holding tortilla chips, guacamole ...
Martha Graham Cracker on the cover of Mission Taqueria’s ¡Saluds Dudes! calendar.

Mission Taqueria, Rittenhouse

In addition to Mexican-inspired tacos and such, you’ll find fun drinks and decor, a bumping happy hour scene and a curated art atrium (you’ll know it when you see it) at Daniel McLaughlin’s second-story taqueria. And this month, you can also pick up (or order) the restaurant’s annual ¡Saluds Dudes! calendar celebrating queer Philly culture, which benefits the William Way LGBT Community Center. 1516 Sansom Street, 2nd floor

Diners sit at tables, some against a green panel wall. Overhead, antique and vintage oyster platters hanging on a white-painted brick wall, part of the Oyster House restaurant in Philadelphia.
Oyster House. Photo by Michael Persico.

Oyster House, Rittenhouse

When third-generation owner Sam Mink took over this seminal seafoodery from his dad, Sam had ideas. One: A space revamp. Designer RJ Thornburg of bahdeebahdu opened and brightened the space — but kept the vintage oyster platter decor. Two: A menu revamp. Keep the chicken salad and fried oysters; keep the shuckers behind the bar; simplify the rest. Three: Stay committed to both local food purveyors and local LGBTQ causes. Four: Host one of Philly’s very best happy hours. 1516 Sansom Street

LGBTQ-owned shops

A woman stands before displays of soaps and other bodycare products at duross & langel in Philadelphia.
duross & langel

Duross & Langel, Gayborhood

Steve Duross’ handmade soap shop has always been more than that. Duross founded the Gayborhood store in 2004. He and his business partner Sarah McKee make many of the shop’s natural products in house; the rest of the all natural body care, candles, and scents are made by local purveyors — everything packaged in as much sustainable, upcycled, recyclable containers as possible. 240 S. 11th Street

Big Blue Marble Bookstore.

Big Blue Marble Bookshop, Mount Airy

Sheila Allen Avelin opened Big Blue Marble Bookshop in 2005, choosing Mt. Airy Village for its diverse community and commitment to local business. Big Blue Marble is just as diverse a bookstore experience, not only hosting all manner of readings and events, but also offering book discounts to pre-K through grad 12 classroom teachers, first responders, book clubs, schools and daycare providers. The shop also hosts readings and other events in their newly renovated second floor reading room. 551 Carpenter Lane

A smiling white woman with short black hair and wearing a black zipped-up hoodie stands in front of a row of bicycles parked on a sidewalk in front of a bicycle shop.
Shelly Walker, owner of Fairmount Bicycles. Photo by Avery Goldman.

Fairmount Bicycles, Fairmount

This do-it-all — sell, repair, rent, tour, new, used, kids’, accessories, gear — bike shop reflects queer founding owner Shelly S. Walker’s commitment to social justice, accessibility and community. The shop organizes all-gender dirt, gravel and road rides, supports the Bread & Roses Community Fund, established a community fridge — and generally partners with causes that support “efforts to fight against white supremacy, the patriarchy, transphobia, homophobia, and all that is wrong in the world.” 2015 Fairmount Avenue

The brick exterior of Giovanni's room, one of the nation's oldest LGBTQIA+ bookstores, located on the corner of 12th and Pine streets in Philadelphia's Gayborhood.
Giovanni’s Room.

Giovanni’s Room, Gayborhood

The country’s longest continuously running LGBT and feminist bookstore debuted in 1973 and has served as a resource and refuge in the Gayborhood since. In 2017, the corner shop, named after the James Baldwin novel, officially came under the umbrella of Philly AIDS Thrift, a popular Bella Vista secondhand store. Today, you’ll find 7,000 titles, all manner of magazines, and vintage items for sale there. 12th and Pine streets

A statue of a winged nude women in the foreground; in the back, inside glass cases, vintage and custom jewelry.

Halloween, Antique Row

Halloween owner Henri David isn’t just a jeweler. He’s an LGBTQ icon here in Philadelphia, the man who, for well over 50 years, has thrown the city’s biggest and best Halloween ball — and leads every Easter parade on South Street. Nonetheless, David’s Pine street rowhouse / jewelry shop, in operation since 1990 without a sign (let alone a website), feels like an absolute find. The two-story underground lair absolutely drips with thousands of its owner’s designs plus vintage: rings, brooches, chains, charms, earrings, bracelets — all displayed in gilded frames, altar-like boxes, even inside pillars. 1329 Pine Street, (215) 732-7711

Philly AIDS Thrift.

Philly AIDS Thrift, Bella Vista

Philly AIDS Thrift has raised funds by selling “the lovely, useful, interesting, amusing, and sometimes mysterious items” that Philadelphians have donated since 2005. The Bella Vista nonprofit distributes, fee free, proceeds from their sales of books, clothing, accessories, jewelry, household goods, furniture — at bargain prices — to local organizations involved in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Philly AIDS Thrift also issues an annual round of grants to fund ongoing programs and special projects, recently surpassing $4 million dollars total in donations. To donate your “lovely, useful, interesting, etc” castoffs first check what they are and are not accepting here. If you want to volunteer, sign up here! 710 S. 5th Street

Ray’s Reusables.

Ray’s Reusables, Northern Liberties

A former high school English teacher started Ray’s Reusables in 2019 as a passion project based around her low-waste lifestyle goals; the pandemic put her concerns about waste and sustainability front and center. The result: a van-based mobile refill operation offering plastic-free and reusable containers of laundry detergent, hand soap, toothpaste and more — and a storefront where you can purchase ethically sourced and sustainably produced goods, or learn to trade plants or dye with botanicals. 935 N. 2nd Street

South Street Art Mart.

South Street Art Mart, Queen Village

Two Nicoles — Kreciki and Wiegand, both artist-makers — run this Fabric Row emporium of handmades, where the couple displays and sells almost exclusively LGBTQ-made jewelry — including pronoun (and hundreds of other message and pride flag) pins — kids’ toys, screen prints, hand-painted clothing, bags and shoes, earrings inspired by pop culture, South Street carabiners and koozies, and loads more Philly-proud merch. 530 S. 4th Street


TRUNC, Northern Liberties

Dorothea Gamble and Dagmar Mitchell’s sustainable, eco-friendly boutique kind of does it all for everyone. Pop by for handmade cards, glass atomizers, black-and-white bucket hats, organic cotton separates, natural lip balm, vegan masks, and all kinds of brass and gold jewelry. And know when you do, you’ll be minimizing waste while supporting a Black, veteran, and LGBTQ-owned business that supports other small businesses, artists, and very good causes. 929 N. 2nd Street

An exterior of the brick and glass facade of the Philadelphia jewelry, gift and housewares shop, Workshop Underground
Workshop Underground.

Workshop Underground, Graduate Hospital

Since leaving a career in retail at the Met Museum, Ruben Luna founded this 800-square-foot retail gallery on the quiet side of South Street. Workshop Underground features Luna’s own designs of fine jewelry — wedding rings have become a specialty — plus estate sale finds, candles, original art, knickknacks, vintage men’s watches — with price tags that range from $10 to well over $10,000. Along the way, he’s hosted fundraisers and given more than $100,000 to Philadelphia schools, the Mazzoni Center, and other worthy causes. 1544 South Street

Didn’t find the Philadelphia LGBTQ-owned shop or eatery you love best here? Email us at [email protected].


Oyster House. Photo by Michael Persico.

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