Eating With Pope Francis: Awesome Papal-Inspired Dishes and Drinks

You must have heard that Pope Francis will be coming the United States, visiting New York, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia starting on September 22 through September 27. This is the current pontiff’s first trip to the United States so in celebration of this momentous occasion, several restaurants and bars in all three cities have created awesome pope themed food and drinks available for tourists and locals to sample for a limited time. It has been 36 years since the Pope visited Philadelphia last so understandably, Philadelphians are more enthusiastic about this visit than New Yorkers or Washingtonians (Pope Benedict visited New York and D.C., in 2008) so check them out below.

Awesome Pope Themed Food and Drinks

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Should you find yourself staying in Philadelphia the weekend of the 26 and 27 of September, prepare to be locked in the city since the Secret Service mandated the closure of traffic and transport going in and out of Philadelphia. The silver lining to being stuck is that there are a number of excellent places to eat and drink in Philly, not to mention pope themed food and drinks that’ll help sustain you and your peers while in town.

Pope Themed Food and Drinks: Argentinean Empanadas
Argentinean Empanadas

Craving for pizza, Pizzeria Vetri has you covered with its Il Papa pie, made with Black Mission figs, mozzarella, lardo and Pecorino Toscano, oregano and fresh basil, an homage to the pope’s Italian and Argentinean roots. Famous sandwich place DiBruno Bros. is also paying homage to the pontiff with its Epiphany Sandwich made with tenderloin of beef, house-made mozzarella, roasted tomatoes and grilled romaine with chimichurri sauce on focaccia bread. It’s paired with German, Italian, and Spanish-inspired cookies to honor the languages the Pope speaks. Finally, there’s also authentic Argentinean-style empanada and alfajores available at Gavin’s Café.

Philadelphia’s legendary beer culture shouldn’t be missed especially since three local brewers have created special brews for the pope’s visit. You’ll likely find the Papal Ale by Manayunk Brewing Company of Philadelphia or the Pater Noster by 2nd Story Brewing Company of Philadelphia at their respective tasting rooms or at craft beer pubs like the Pub on Passyunk East (POPE, get it?)

Washington, D.C.

Pope Themed Food and Drinks: Ella's Pizza
Ella’s Pizza

There are a number of awesome pope themed food and drinks available in Washington, D.C. as well. First comes Rumors Restaurant introducing a limited edition Pope Sandwich made with marinated grilled chicken breast, chimichurri and holy land relish. The sandwich will only be available until the week of the pope’s visit. You also have Ella’s Wood Fire Pizza that created a pie representative of the Vatican flag colors with marinated golden tomatoes on top of white mozzarella and ricotta cheeses. As for drinks, Brookland Pint will have a lineup of over two-dozen Pope-inspired beers. Beers will either have a religious theme such as Epic’s Big Bad Baptist while some are trappist beers brewed by Belgian monks, like Chimay, Westmalle, or St. Bernardus Tripel.

New York, New York

Pope Themed Food and Drinks: Artuso Cookies
Artuso Cookies

Papal visits aren’t new to many New Yorkers so understandably, their excitement about this trip is a bit more subdued than their neighboring cities. Despite the lack of excitement among locals, some restaurants still created pope themed food and drinks menus in honor of His Holiness’ visit. For example, Ribalta at 42 East 12th Street created what can be referred to as the Vatican Pie because it has yellow heirloom tomatoes and fresh basil as toppings and a rim of white buffalo ricotta along the crust. Then there’s the family-owned Artuso Pastry in Belmont that recreated the classic Black-and-White cookie and added an edible photo image of Pope Francis’s face. The pastry shop debuted its pope cookies back in 2008 during Pope Benedict’s visit. Its manager, Natalia Corridori, hopes that Pope Francis will stop by to try one of these unique cookies.

Pope Themed Food and Drinks: Pope Table
Pope Table

The Buca di Peppo locations in both New York and Washington, D.C., may not have a special papal dish, but both restaurants have a pope table that features a large bust of Pope Francis as the centerpiece. The family-sized table fits up to 10 people and is decorated with images and objects that are representative of The Vatican and its pontiff.

Whether you end up staying in New York, Washington, or Philadelphia, you can be assured that you’ll find plenty of awesome pope themed food and drinks. A complete listing of the pope’s schedule in all three cities is available through the Vatican’s official website.

About Iris A


Born in the Philippines, but grew up in Texas, Iris has been traveling and writing about her experiences for well over a decade. Her work has been published on well-known travel sites like Hipmunk (#hipmunkcitylove) and D Magazine Online Travel Club. She has been all over Europe, the US, and has recently started exploring Latin America. She loves trying local cuisine and visiting UNESCO deemed World Heritage sites. Her favourite city is New York, with London, following a close 2nd. You can follow her on Twitter @sundeeiris or through her travel blog, Traveling With Iris.

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