Jared Cannon, founder of Simply Good Jars, has been cooking since he was five years old.
“I think cooking alongside my grandmother during my younger years was what really inspired me to find my love for creating and preparing meals,” he says. "I was fortunate enough to have the realization at 15 years old that if I got to cook for a living, I could do something really cool.”
Originally from Newark, Delaware, Cannon studied at the Culinary Institute of America and Florida International University before settling down in Philadelphia for the past five years.
What he loves about being in the food industry most is its ability to bring people together.
“So many memories are created around food,” he says. “Playing an active role in that will never get old.”
When he’s not in the kitchen, he enjoys working out, playing music and exploring Philadelphia’s food scene. Here are some of his top picks.
Best late night meal?
I'm normally asleep by 10 p.m. and up at 4:30 a.m. So if 4:30 a.m. counts as a late night meal, I have to go with Waffle House! Sometimes there’s nothing better than home fries, eggs and toast.
Best meal under $10?
Other than Simply Good Jars, my go-to has to be the Italian deluxe hoagie from Palm Tree Gourmet at 20th and Pine. Prosciutto, peppered ham, Genoa salami, cappy ham and provolone for $6.49. The food is quality and the meat is always fresh.
Best hidden foodie gem?
Seorabol Korean BBQ (5734 Old 2nd St.) in the Oak Lane area in North Philly. I’ve explored a wide variety of cuisines during my career and some of my all time favorites include Korean and Peruvian. Once word spreads that I’m making a trip to Seorabol, at least three or four friends pile in the car. Everything on the menu is delicious, but I never leave without getting the scallion pancakes.
Best place to dine alone?
Vernick Food and Drink (2031 Walnut St.) at the bar, 5:30 p.m. sharp. Securing a reservation here is nearly impossible, so grabbing an early seat at the bar is key if you’re looking to experience some of the city’s best food and drink on a whim. You’ll find me at the bar with a spread of toasts and the sea urchin — definitely the sea urchin.
Place you always take or recommend for out-of-towners?
Good Dog Bar (224 S. 15th St.) is always on my short list of recommendations. I find that travelers typically like to find the one place that speaks most to the city of Philly, and Good Dog Bar is just that — a homey-feeling, local dive bar with good food and good beer. It also has darts and billiards, which is a plus.
Go-to date spot, hands down?
Friday, Saturday, Sunday (261 S. 21st St.). The beverage program is amazing. You can’t go wrong with any of Paul MacDonald’s cocktails and the kitchen knocks it out of the park every single time. I personally enjoy sitting at the downstairs bar and sharing a handful of dishes. It’s intimate and cozy — you’re almost guaranteed a second date.
Best place to catch up with friends?
Mission Taqueria (1516 Sansom St.). Their happy hour is one of the best in the city. I always see familiar faces from the industry at the bar or in the communal seating area. It’s a great open space to catch up with friends, or even meet new ones.
Most Instagrammable restaurant?
R2L (50 S. 16th St.) is pretty amazing on many levels. The sweeping views of the city are hard to pass up and Daniel Stern's food presentation will blow your mind. If you haven’t tried their chicken skin chicharron, you need to ASAP.