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Faces of City Ave – Josh Bowen, The Bala Inn

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Meet Josh Bowen! Josh and his wife Sasha,

recently took over management of the Kitchen at The Bala Inn.

 Josh is working to increase awareness of the new food menu they offer.

Located at 5004 City Ave, The Bala Inn has been operating for over 70 years.

As a Philly native, Josh has been able to see The City Ave District transform through the years. 

 

 

How did you first learn about The Bala Inn?

My wife and I started off as regular customers.

 

Before working at The Bala Inn, what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had?

I actually used to own a Pizza Shop that was apart of a franchise, Peace-A-Pizza, which re-branded as SNAP Custom Pizza.

 

How has The Bala Inn helped you in your career development?

So far, it has allowed me to really think about taking a leap into making investments for my financial freedom. 

 

What are 3 words to describe The Bala Inn?

“Feels like home” 

 

What drew you to The Bala Inn originally? And how has The Bala Inn changed since?

This bar has always been a neighborhood staple. I actually grew up in West Philly/Wynnefield area so I was a regular patron for a long time. One day I was asked to bartend and then 3 years later, I was asked to run the kitchen. 

 

What has been your favorite project at The Bala Inn?

Transforming the menu. Originally, the menu only consisted of 3 things; fried chicken, fried fish and french fries. We’ve created an entirely new menu and even added some healthy options like salads and grilled salmon. 

 

What is your favorite part about working for The Bala Inn?

It’s mine. I get to make it what I want it to be. 

 

What is your proudest moment at The Bala Inn?

Every time I get a compliment about the transformation of the menu. 

 

Any favorite line from a movie?

“What do you want?!” – The Notebook 

 

Do you have a favorite quote?

“Always do your best” – The Four Agreements 

 

Do you recall any embarrassing moment at work?

Falling into a mop bucket one night at closing. This was when I was the Manager at Peace-A-Pizza. My bosses caught it on camera. 

 

Favorite travel spot?

Mexico.

 

If you had to eat one meal, every day for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Salmon Cheesesteak.

 

What book did you read last?

The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz.

 

What did you want to be when growing up?

An astronaut.

 

What do you always want to try and never did?

Living abroad.

 

What is the first concert you attended?

G-Unit. 

 

What is the first thing you would buy if you won the lottery?

A mansion. 

 

What is your favorite thing to do in the area?

Playing pool at The Bala. 

 

What would you do (for a career) if you weren’t doing this?

A pilot.

 

You’re happiest when?

Spending quality time with myself; self-care is important to me.

 

Is there anything special about City Ave that you can share?

This location used to be a strip of nightclubs and in my opinion, still has the best views of the fireworks on the 4th of July!

 

 

Want to be featured in the next issue of Faces of City Ave? Email Briana at cityave@cityave.org.

 
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