Jun 16, 2022 - Food and Drink

Sky's Place serves up comfort and neighborhood charm through food

Shekia Johnson and her daughter, Skylar
Shekia Johnson, and her five-year-old daughter, Skylar inside their restaurant, Sky's Place at the corner of Girard Avenue and 29th Street. Photo: Taylor Allen/Axios

Army veteran Shekia Johnson long wanted to start her own business, just like her father — something to pass down to her 5-year-old daughter, Skylar Scott.

  • Barely a month ago, she made that a reality with Sky's Place, the newest take-out spot on Girard Avenue in Brewerytown.
  • "Anything I do is for her," Johnson told Axios of her daughter. "Everything I have, it's not mine. It's for her."

How it started: Johnson has been friends with William Hunter, the former chef at Paprika in North Philly, for several years. After Hunter's brother Thomas, Paprika's owner, passed away in 2015, the restaurant stayed afloat for a while but ultimately closed a few years later.

  • Last August, Hunter and Johnson decided to team up to start something of their own, with many recipes inspired by Thomas. A photo of Thomas even hangs on the wall as you enter Sky's Place, right next to one of Skylar herself.
  • "Hunter is keeping his legacy going," Johnson told Axios.
Right to left: Images of Skylar Scott, Esther Roberts (Shekia Johson's late grandmother), and Thomas Hunter (William Hunter's late brother). Photo: Anthony Pearson for Axios.

Plus: Johnson said she and Hunter grew up in Brewerytown, and they've noticed the neighborhood changing.

  • "We wanted to bring some originality back into the neighborhood, just to say, 'Hey, we're still here.'"

The food: Johnson describes the food as all-American, but it's still prepared as "food from the soul."

  • The menu ranges from quick meals like burgers to full entrees such as a half rack of lamb, and salmon. And all entrees come with two sides.

Taylor's thought bubble: Be sure to get their crab cake entree ($20) if you're coming for dinner. It's one of the best I've had in a while.

Look ahead: Johnson may have just started, but she's already planning to one day turn Sky's Place into a chain throughout the city.

Sky's Place on the corner of 29th Street and Girard Avenue in Brewerytown. Photo: Anthony Pearson for Axios.
Sky's Place in Brewerytown. Photo: Anthony Pearson for Axios

Visit: Sky's Place sits at the corner of Girard Avenue and 29th Street.

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