Welcome Stereo Flavors

The Philly Fanzine for Foodies

As with many institutions and art forms in the United States, a subculture exists in the world of print.

Zines, short for “fanzines,” are homemade, self-distributed publications steeped in creativity and unhindered by the mainstream. An integral way to connect with other like-minded members of a community, they are born of passion, not profit. Prominent examples of zines can be found throughout groundbreaking eras of American history: Harlem’s Black Renaissance of the 1920s, sci-fi stories in the 1950s Atomic Era, and punk and “riot grrrl” culture at the end of the 20th century.

Inspired by this “do-it-yourself” spirit of self-expression, graphic design artist and passionate foodie Steve Martinho created a zine of his own, Stereo Flavors. It has become a new staple in Philadelphia food journalism and the newest member of the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association.

Although Martinho’s background is audio-visual design and marketing, his love of cooking is what motivates him.  “I love cooking … started out by taking shifts at local restaurants,” he said. “I was taught by great friends who attended culinary schools.  If I needed to know how to properly cut an onion, I knew who to ask.  I learned a lot.”

As the Philadelphia food scene grew in prominence and became more eclectic, he believed the city needed a distinct voice dedicated to the gastronomic wonders happening around town. His marketing prowess kicked into high gear and a new idea emerged.

He needed the right forum to express unfiltered views of the culinary world while helping restaurants and chefs with branding opportunities. The solution was simple, a zine. It was the perfect way to express his own creativity while paying homage to this influential style of journalism he so admired. Alongside staff photographer K.C. Tinari, he set to work on his vision.

In 2022, Stereo Flavors debuted with an unconventional and entertaining glimpse into the burgeoning Philly culinary scene. Readers can find reviews of eateries, interviews with cutting-edge chefs, and opinion pieces about the food industry. Recipes abound throughout the zine, but with a twist.  Foodies not only submit ingredients and step-by-step instructions, they also upload the music playlists they listen to while cooking. The list is accessible to readers on Spotify, via a QRL code.

Martinho has secured numerous start-up businesses in the food and beverage industry to advertise in Stereo Flavors, something near and dear to his heart. “It’s important to give exposure and support to local companies. One goal of Stereo Flavors is to build brand awareness.”

Described by Martinho as “fun, collectable and portable,” the zine has quickly become a popular food guide in the city. Distributed free at numerous cafes, grocery stores and restaurants, printing has quadrupled in two years, from 500 to 4,000 copies per edition. He continues meeting potential distributors face-to-face, building strong connections with the people who not only help his endeavor, but whom he also wants to target and promote.

Continued growth is on the horizon.  The website (www.stereoflavors.com) contains links to Martinho’s exclusive YouTube channel ‒ “Flavor Trippin’ ” ‒ featuring interviews and demonstrations with up-and-coming chefs.  Back editions are available to purchase and download, as well as other cool merchandise for readers to show their love and support.

Outrageous and brash like the city it covers, Stereo Flavors is an underground guide to some of Philly’s best dining experiences, whether they are in established dining rooms or under-the-radar cafes. Pick up a copy on your next visit to Philadelphia and discover first hand why the city is one of the country’s top-notch foodie destinations.