By Amaris Pollock, special correspondent to Philly Grub
When traveling in and out of Philadelphia, there are many sites to see. Now among them is a restaurant with the theme of our city’s iconic trolleys.
I was recently invited by Marilyn Johnson to attend an introductory event at Trolley Car Station, which is associated with 3 other similarly themed venues in the city. The newest of the Trolley Car themed eateries is located in University City adjacent to the 40th Street Trolley Portal Station. This location makes it a convenient spot to enjoy some great food and drinks at any time of the day.
As soon as you walk in there’s a stunning table in the center of the room, which Executive Chef Barbie Marshall commissioned local woodworking artist EJ Duff of Hurricane Woodwork to design for her restaurant. The table was a perfect way for Barbie Marshall to display a plethora of her appetizing menu offerings, and will be equally perfect for large groups dining together.
As for the atmosphere, the first floor of the Trolley Car Station is trendy and inviting with smaller tables along the walls that can be joined together if needed or separated for a more intimate setting. On the second floor, you’re immersed in a throw-back to its namesake—the booths and tables utilize trolley car seats as part of the experience.
While everyone was mingling and trying out the food offerings, Chef Barbie Marshall added a personal touch by speaking with everyone individually. I can tell you that she is humble and amicable, and based on everything I tasted, Chef Marshall is extremely talented in the kitchen.
Between the passed hors d’oeuvres and the plethora of menu items on the centerpiece table, my palate was in heaven. Each dish was mouthwatering, and Chef Barbie Marshall’s culinary talents extend to people’s dietary needs as well; there are vegan and gluten-free options on her menu.
Although I enjoyed all her dishes, my personal favorites were the Mac and Cheese, Green Papaya, Shrimp and Grits, and her small bites version of Flan.
The Mac and Cheese was extra creamy, with the oozing cheesy deliciousness which can only be obtained when making it from scratch. I’ve been trying to find Mac and Cheese that I didn’t have to make on my own—and hers is amazing. I even asked her if I could buy some that night to take home.
The Green Papaya was fresh and light, and I think it would be terrific to have as a light starter to share, or as a side dish to one of the other scrumptious foods that are offered.
The Shrimp and Grits had large tender shrimps sitting on top of the grits, but what made this dish so notable was the spicy-sweet sauce drizzled on it which caused me to track down a few more samples.
Rounding out my favorites of the night was a dessert item. Sitting in a miso soup spoon, the adorably small Flan was tiny but full of flavor—the Flan was light and about the size of a fingerprint, but the sweetness of the drizzle with a pinch of cinnamon had me hooked.
I tasted numerous menu items that night, all of which were divine. If you are interested in checking out the Trolley Car Station, its Grand Opening is on Sept 27th with a soft opening starting Sept 4th—so why not stop on in and enjoy what this fun and delicious restaurant has to offer!
The Doyenne of Dining in Philadelphia and South Jersey.