Eat Like an Insider: Nick Macri of La Divisa Meats

Eat Like an Insider: Nick Macri of La Divisa Meats
Stuart Goldenberg

After completing his culinary studies at Drexel University, Toronto native Nick Macri decided to relocate to Philadelphia permanently, working in some of Philly’s top kitchens including Osteria and Southwark. In 2009, he launched La Divisa Meats, a charcuterie and butcher shop now located in the historic Reading Terminal Market. Macri chatted with us about where to dine in his adopted city and touches on everything from schnitzel tacos to truffled egg toast.

Best late night meal?
Royal Sushi & Izakaya (780 S. 2nd St). It’s a super new spot, but I think it’s amazing that I can get some great tasting sushi late at night. Also the grilled hamachi kama (salt broiled yellowtail collar with grated radish and ginger) is pretty spectacular and not to mention they offer sake in a can!

Best meal under $10?
Philadelphia Java Company’s (852 S. 2nd St) toasted eggle breakfast sandwich with a cup of coffee is a great cheap breakfast (the eggle is a hard boiled egg with za’atar olive oil served on a bagel). It’s the perfect neighborhood coffee shop with no attitude and it’s pet friendly with some really cool food options. They also have a lebanah and green olive toast as well as zatar croissants.

Best hidden foodie gem?
Nom Wah Tea Parlor — the Philly outpost of the New York dim sum joint — is on the edge of Chinatown (218 N. 13th St). It’s never super crowded and their food is always on point. My favorite dish has to be the shrimp and bacon roll – it’s a minced shrimp ball wrapped in bacon and fried.

Best place to dine alone?
Abe Fisher (1623 Sansom St). If you’re eating alone it needs to be at the bar at Abe Fisher – the cocktails, wines and amaros curated by my favorite beverage professional Brian Kane is always filled with some cool surprises. As for the food, their take on the Caesar salad is always killer and how can you go wrong with a corned pork belly reuben and schnitzel tacos?

Place you always take or recommend for out-of-towners?
Vernick Food & Drink (2031 Walnut St). It’s a beautiful space with some of the most attentive and friendly staff I’ve encountered, they’ll make any out-of-towner feel like a regular. The menu has a little bit for everyone, it’s delicious well-executed food. I can probably make a full meal out of the toast section alone.

Go-to date spot?

Tria (1137 Spruce St). Big meals on dates seem counter intuitive to me, so working through the small plates at Tria with a great list of wines and beers by the glass to drink throughout is a no brainer. Sharing olive oil potato chips, truffled egg toast and cheeses makes for a perfect date night.

Best place to catch up with friends?
I’d prefer to catch up with friends by cooking at home for them, but if it needs to be in a restaurant setting I would choose Zeppoli (618 W. Collings Ave, Collingswood). When I’m there I’m able to catch up with my good friend chef/owner Joey Baldino. He’s created a restaurant with an atmosphere that feels like you’re eating in his home with friends. A must have on the menu is the lemon tagliatelle with bottarga.

Most Instagrammable restaurant?
I’m not a huge fan of taking pictures during a dinner partly because I’d rather eat and also because my photo skills aren’t the best, but if you want to see delicious food on Instagram then check out Chef Lucio Palazzo’s (@luciopal) dishes from Loco Pez (2401 E. Norris St). My favorite has to be their cochinita pibil tacos and sopa de tortillas.