April 28, 2016
Most of what I know about North Dakota can be found in the movie "Fargo." And that Mount Rushmore is there.
Wait, that’s South Dakota. So, yeah, just Fargo.
But what if I — like the Eagles' second-overall pick in the draft, Carson Wentz — had lived in North Dakota my whole life? What would I know of Philly? Rocky? The Liberty Bell? Cheesesteaks? Snowballs and D-batteries?
Well, I'm here to let you know we're so much more than that. It may not all be good, but the more you understand about this city and its residents, the more we'll love you. So while Eagles fans all over try to find out as much about their newest player, I decided to put together a list of things Wentz should know about Philly before he arrives in town.
Not the stuff he likely already saw in "Rocky" or in the inevitable Monday Night Football footage of some guy making a cheesesteak, but the stuff he actually needs to know.
In fact, you may be safest parking in the middle of the street. There’s no point in learning where — and when — you can actually park because it doesn’t really matter. The PPA is going to get you. And that’s before you see the madness of South Philly where it’s somehow legal to park right in the middle of Broad Street. Just ask your new teammate Brandon Brooks…
So y'all just gone park in the middle of the street out here huh lol pic.twitter.com/w8PMuqRufU— Brandon Brooks (@bbrooks_79) April 3, 2016
Listen, I know they’re about the most cliche Philly thing you can think of. But they’re everywhere. And delicious. If you want to fit in, however, you need to know which one you like best because they vary greatly from place to place and you will be judged based on that answer. If you really want impress people when they ask where your favorite cheesesteak place is, don’t say Pat’s or Geno’s. No offense to them, but they’re just the big names. Find your own place.
Really, really good food. I promise. We may be known for cheesesteaks and soft pretzels and Crab Fries, but there are some fantastic restaurants in and around the city. If you need a recommendation, check with Inquirer food critic Craig Laban. He has yet to steer me wrong.
I’m going to go out on a limb and say you don’t have anything like Wawa out in the Dakotas. It’s hard to put a finger on exactly what makes it so awesome, but it’s one of those greater-than-the-sum-of-its-parts things. Basically, Wawa is to 7/11 and other convenience stores what Whole Foods is to Shop Rite. And the ATMs are free.
No, we don’t hate you. Not yet, at least. We just have the vocal equivalent of “bitchy resting face.” If you know that going into it, interacting with the locals will be a lot easier. Winning also helps.
We kind of have our own dialect too. For example, here are just a few of them:
• Wooder = Water | “Let’s go grab some wooder ice.”
[Side note: water ice is delicious and you should try it immediately.]
• Youse = Our version of ya’ll | “Are youse coming with or not?”
• Jawn = Whatever you want it to mean. | “Yo, pass me that jawn on the table” or “Have you seen this new Beyonce jawn?” or “I just have to finish this jawn and then I can come over.”
• We don’t go to the beach, we go “down the shore.”
• Route 1 is called "the Boulevard" and nothing else. It was designed by Satan. Avoid at all costs if possible.
All those touristy things? Yeah, many of us leave them for the tourists. You’re new, so take some time to soak in the city’s history before your days are filled with practice. It's worth it.
For some reason, Philly fans blame the athlete whenever he fails to live up to a big contract, even if it’s the team’s fault for handcuffing the organization by offering so much. Just ask Ryan Howard. Coming in as the No. 2 overall pick, they’re going to expect you to produce. Do that, and they’ll love you. Anything less and, well, just ask the last QB the Eagles took with the second pick.
And he won an NFC title…
Even if you rooted for your hometown team all your life, you're now expected to root for ours. Luckily, North Dakota doesn't have any pro teams, so you shouldn't have too much trouble making the switch. And you can start with the Flyers, whose coach is also relatively new to the city and came to us via ... North Dakota. This one should be pretty easy.
Wing Bowl - If half-naked women, excessive amounts of drinking and grown men vomiting on those half-naked women is your thing, this annual buffalo wing eating contest and all-around glutton fest is for you. Oh, and it starts at 6 a.m. ...
The Mummer's Parade - Also involves a lot of drinking, but replace the half-naked women with grown men dancing through the streets and playing string instruments while wearing ridiculously ornate outfits.
BYOBs - Bring Your Own Booze. I don't think these are as popular -- or even legal -- in other parts of the country, but they're great and terrible at the same time. They're great for many reasons, as long as you know the restaurant you're going to is a BYOB. Otherwise -- and this is the terrible part -- you could be left without that chewy red to pair with your steak; BYOBs typically don't have a liquor license.
State Stores - Speaking of alcohol, Pennsylvania still has outdated liquor laws requiring you to buy your booze from the state. And many are closed on Sundays. Some grocery stores are starting to sell beer -- you can often get six packs at bars and "six-pack stores" -- but otherwise, you're going to have to hit up the local beer distributor.
Citywide Special - The best -- and cheapest -- thing you can order at a local bar.
Pork Roll - With egg and cheese. On a long roll (or a kaiser). Salt. Pepper. Hot sauce. Thank me later.
Scrapple - The less you know, the better. Just don't think too hard about the name...
@matt_mullin saw your piece on what Wentz should learn about philly. You forgot Scrapple!!— Jon Kozachyn (@Jnk5110) April 29, 2016
And there's plenty more. If you're reading this and are from the area, leave your advice in the comments section.
Oh, and one last piece of advice on adjusting to life in Philly: just win. That seems to cure everything.
Follow Matt on Twitter: @matt_mullin