The hidden gems of Pensacola 


Melanie Cook, Staff Writer

Pensacola has a feeling to it that is hard to find in other cities. It showcases a unique combination of a beach town, a military town and a college town. With this being the case, it sometimes seems like Pensacola is a revolving door of who comes and goes. Those who are here not to stay miss out on some of the things that make Pensacola a place to call home. 

Philly’s Cheesesteaks and Hoagies – 2166 W 9 Mile Rd & 3900 Creighton Rd 

For those who are from the Northeast, it may be hard finding food that tastes as it does back home. This is where Philly’s comes in. On the outside, Philly’s is a plain-looking shop at a busy intersection, but on the inside, the thick smell of Northeastern food fills the restaurant. The food itself is just as good as it is in Philadelphia, and it’s one of the only places in Pensacola that has real cheesesteaks. 

With two convenient locations, Philly’s is the place to go. It is one of the few sub shops near UWF that isn’t your typical fast-food restaurant. When you go to Philly’s, you’re going to pay more, but the quality and amount of food received will make up for it. 

Music Box – 3960 W Navy Blvd

Pensacola’s Music Box is the type of place where if you know, you know. When driving past, it looks like a place worth stopping at, but it doesn’t look like it would be the place to blow you away. That all changes the second you step through the door. It feels like you are taking a step back in time to before streaming services or music downloads, and when records were less than a quarter each. 

With different sections for records of each genre, a room filled with DVDs and VHS tapes and areas for Music Box shirts or amazing band posters (some of which are hand-drawn), Music Box is a must-see. 

Music Box offers a wide variety of options for music and movies. From Billie Eilish, Elton John, Saving Abel and even albums by local bands, everyone is bound to find something they love at Music Box. For any music fanatic who wants to support a local business, it is well worth the drive to Navy Blvd. You can see and feel the time, effort and care the owners put into their work at this store from the second you walk in. 

Mr. C’s Homemade Ice Cream – 9329 N Palafox St

For real homemade ice cream that is unbelievably cheap and absolutely delicious, Mr. C’s Homemade Ice Cream is the place to be. Being one of the few ice cream places nearby that does not offer toppings for your dessert, it makes it difficult to walk out saying you spent too much money on ice cream. Mr. C’s is the type of place where you can treat yourself, and not make your wallet feel bad for it.

Mr. C’s Homemade Ice Cream offers more than their name suggests. Their menu also boasts Italian ice, sherbert, floats and even alcohol-infused ice cream for their of-age customers. 

Mr. C, the gentleman who owns and operates the shop bearing his name, makes the ice cream on-location in small batches every morning. Each flavor is his assorted recreation of favorites that he has found during his travels. This is definitely a business that found a niche and is thriving in it. 

Having opened in January of 2020, Mr. C’s Homemade Ice Cream survived the pandemic. That alone says a lot about the business. But as a whole, Mr. C opened the type of business that is a good option for students and the community as a whole. 

Constant Coffee & Tea – 615 Scenic Hwy

Coffee, tea and a scenic view, Constant Coffee & Tea is a combination of siblings working together to make their goals work, and a local business giving a good place for their community to enjoy what they have to offer. With an amazing menu (including freshly baked scones that are more than worth mentioning), weekly poetry nights every Tuesday at 6 p.m. and a spacious study area with good views, Constant Coffee & Tea is a good place to study off-campus and grab a good breakfast or coffee. 

Constant Coffee & Tea is a prime example of a local business that is a great alternative to going to a chain coffee shop like Starbucks. Here you can see the direct impact that your purchases have, and know that your money is being used for good, 


Pensacola has an extensive list of locally owned businesses that are worth mentioning, but sometimes, finding these hidden gems among that list can take trial and error.

With the semester coming to an end, there is still time to find your favorite hidden gem in Pensacola. Between studying for finals, resting and preparing to go back home for winter break, give yourself a break. Go for adventures, make new experiences and remember to take advantage of things getting back to normal.