It took a little less than a year after the grand opening of Sketch, Fishtown's beloved vegan friendly burger joint, for me to get there, but I finally did. The limited hours of operation initially kept me away, but now open seven days a week for lunch through dinner, it's much easier to stop by.
The brightly colored Girard St. store front holds an equally colorful and funky interior with a long bar and stools along the wall and front window, and three large booths with church pew seats to dine at. Bored? Scrawl on the chalkboards on the wall with chalk or the construction paper on the tables with crayons. Cute, but I was not moved to artistry.
Up the ramp from the main dining room, you'll pass a chalkboard of menu items, and a chalkboard of daily special like antelope burgers, birch beer pulled pork sandwiches, and sesame noodles.
Sketch's mainstay are their sirloin beef, Kobe, turkey, vegan, chicken, and smashed onion beef burgers, but you can also grab a salad, burrito, or fries (yeah, they got rid of the cheese puffs after so many people bitched about the absence of fries). Oh, regular and vegan milkshakes are also a specialty of Sketch, and I hear they are the bomb, but I had to skip. Just don't know how anyone has room for a burger and a shake!
Mosy a few more steps, and place your order at the register, take a seat, and your order will be brought out to you. Do you tip for this service? With signs at the register and on every table suggesting you tip your server (a bit much, but I guess they've had misunderstandings), you best tip, you ingrate.I went with the vegan burger with the included toppings of tomato, lettuce, and choice of sauce -- cheese and fancier toppings cost $1 each. The falafel-like vegan burger was fine, but had an overriding Mediterranean spice (neither of us could name it, and I forgot to ask) that put me off. I was fond of the soft, toasted, challah-like onion roll and generous vegan harissa aioli (love sauce, and Sketch is the first place in a long time that did not skimp on sauce), but not the pale, out of season tomato slice. Overall, the vegan burger was just meh. I'd eat it again, but I'm not in love.My partner tried out one of the specials, a grilled seitan and vegetable sandwich with an Asian-influenced sesame sauce. This thing was massive! And not bad, even though the grilled seitan, onion, red pepper and cabbage sandwich seemed a little homey, like, "Oh, I had some leftover stir fry, lets put it on a bun." The seitan sandwich was odd, but the better of the two sandwiches.
I really, really wanted to love Sketch, since so many people do, and especially since the owner was incredibly friendly, and you could tell she poured her heart and soul into the place, but I just didn't. The food is decent, and the vibes are casual and fun, but I'm just not that into it. Philly has spoiled me.
413 E. Girard Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19125
open 7 days, 11:30am-9pm