The Italian Market’s Soul of the Sea Alma del Mar opens for breakfast, post “Queer Eye”

This morning, the Italian Market’s Alma del Mar soft-opened for breakfast. And the space was (socially distanced) packed.

If you don’t know this by now, in 2019, Jonathan Van Ness, Antoni Porowski, Karamo Brown, Tan France, and Bobby Berk – the heartening helpful healing men of “Queer Eye” on Netflix – came to Philly, stayed for a while, and changed a handful of locals life for the better, beyond just making them dress better. One of their success stories when they aired “Queer Eye” Season 5 on Netflix last month was already a business success: Marcos Tlacopilco. The legendary Ninth Street fishmonger (such a great old world term) and his family have been part of the Italian Market forever, always outside hosing down his sidewalk in tall wading boots, packing his fresh catches in ice. Seeing Tlacopilco and his wife every day has been a treat during the entire 20 years that I have lived in the area.

Marcos Tlacopilco.

Before “Queer Eye” Season 5 aired, however, Tlacoplico had already purchased the 1007 S.9th Street property from the owners of George’s Famous Roast Pork and Beef when it closed. Signage had gone up for what would be a seafood space, Alma del Mar. The new owners even fixed up the broken down, boarded up area in between the fish shop and the new restaurant for outdoor seating. During the show’s time here, not only did Antoni suggest some menu options, Bobby gave them a re-design and some fresh coats of paint. Since that time, however, Marcos and his business partner, José Martinez, changed Berk’s dark colors to bright – green – kept a quote from his grandfather on the wall, and moved from dinner to breakfast as its choice of seating.

This morning, Tlacopilco soft-opened his often discussed Alma del Mar and its next-door outdoor patio space for breakfast. And the space was packed, with diners eating omelets and pear salads with gorgonzola. The full-blown opening is tomorrow morning, July 7 at 7 am. I’ll check back and let you know what the full menu looked like.

And for those of you who can’t get enough of the “Queer Eye” guys and Philly, this just dropped over the weekend…

A short Netflix hit with the boys re-make/re-modeling Philly’s own messy hockey mascot Gritty. Stupid fun. Probably the most you’ll see of the orange flame Wookie if C-19 seating keeps fucking or – pucking, ha – us up.


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