We are absolutely thrilled to be back with you here in 2024 for the Build-outs of Coffee! This is going to be a record-breaking Build-Outs season here on Sprudge, with submissions well on pace to be the biggest, busiest Build-Outs edition in history. Why wait? We’re diving straight in for an exciting new coffee project in the city of Philadelphia, whose coffee scene has truly a world class destination. Thank you for joining us all summer long! This is Menagerie Coffee in Philadelphia, PA.

The 2024 Build-Outs of Coffee is presented by Ceado and Dona. The 2024 Build-outs of Coffee is sponsored by Pacific Barista SeriesLa Marzocco, and Ghirardelli

Ceado E37Z Barista Grinder, Flavor on repeat
DONA now serving Matcha
DONA Cardamom Rose
Ceado E37Z Barista Grinder, Flavor on repeat
DONA tea, Equitably sources teas and tisanes
Ceado E37Z Barista Grinder, Flavor on repeat
Ceado E37Z Barista Grinder, Flavor on repeat
DONA chai, specialty coffee's other half

As told to Sprudge by April Nett.

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For those who aren’t familiar, will you tell us about your company?

Established by current owner April Nett and co-founder Elysa DiMauro, Menagerie Coffee opened its flagship shop in 2013 as a multi-roaster in Old City Philadelphia. From 2018-2023 a second location was open in the Bourse Food Hall, adjacent to Independence Mall. In 2024, Menagerie Coffee moved the second location to a much larger space in the residential neighborhood of Northern Liberties, combining a retail cafe, baking production, and coffee roasting under one roof. At the heart of our mission is sustainably offering genuine hospitality to our Philly community, while creating safe spaces for our team to meaningfully develop their specialty coffee craft.

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Can you tell us a bit about the new space?

The new store expands into the Northern Liberties neighborhood across from the lush greenspace in Liberty Lands Park. This park-side shop transforms a cave-like setting—formerly a gaming arena—into a bright, airy cafe with high ceilings, wooden beams, and lots of natural light. Despite the dark cavernous state when we signed the lease (May 2023), we knew the place had strong bones—it simply required a lot of editing. Immediately we set to work removing layers of matte grey paint, repainting the southern brick wall, and removing miles of old wires that snarled the beams overhead. Working with Niko of Kole Made (and inspired by a recent trip to Albania), we began to introduce warm, natural textures, and curvilinear geometries—cashmere-tinted tadelakt plaster, white oak, and hand-rounded countertops. With about 2,200 square feet to play with, it was our shared vision to create a space where form and function reinforce one other. The space gave us the opportunity to open up the floor plan, offering everyone inside—staff and customers alike—ample room to enjoy.

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What’s your approach to coffee?

A pledge to do no harm—to recognize the efforts of all those who’ve influenced a particular coffee prior to us receiving it, and to consider our role as one of stewardship, working to preserve the integrity of each offering we brew. We take seriously our position in the final stages of a coffee’s life, just before brewing/serving, and we do our best to showcase the inherent qualities of the terroir, variety, processing method, and roast.

Any machines, coffees, special equipment lined up?

Heck yes! Our full espresso menu is brewed by our steadfast duo: custom colored La Marzocco GB5 (three-group) and Mahlkönig K30. The manual brew-bar serves a rotating selection of single-origins brewed on Hario V60s; drip coffee is batch brewed on a FETCO CBS-2151XTS; all coffees are ground on a Ditting 1203. But the unsung hero of our operation is the Global Customized NEX RO 500 water filtration system we use to maintain SCA specifications for optimal brewing water.

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How is your project considering sustainability?

Environmentally speaking, we are intentional about repurposing materials. We hate waste. Since building our first shop, this has been a through line that quietly informs every stage of each fit out. It’s easy (and tempting) to buy new materials for that start fresh. But for us, the most satisfying moments occur whenever we’ve challenged ourselves to source materials with previous uses and histories: salvaged stone, reclaimed wood stumps, metal support beams, midcentury furniture, bowling lanes, Alaskan cedar water towers, etc. To see these materials anew and allow for the natural qualities to be on display not only results in a unique environment but demonstrates what’s possible when we work together to minimize waste in our communities.

What’s your hopeful target opening date/month?

We opened on January 25th, 2024.

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Are you working with craftspeople, architects, and/or creatives that you’d like to mention?

Yes! This new location marks the 3rd collaboration between Menagerie Coffee and Kole Made, the design/build/fabrication firm located in Philadelphia. Kole Made has designed and built all three Menagerie shops, and together with the support from SHIFTSpace Studio, the team salvaged all materials and equipment from our previous location in the Bourse Food Hall. Each component was woven into the new design of the NoLibs cafe and works to enhance the inherent characteristics of the space itself.

Thank you!

Thank you for considering Menagerie to be part of this super cool segment. We love how y’all showcase beautiful spaces that push the boundaries of what defines *cafe*. Cheers!

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Menagerie Coffee is located at 908 N 3rd St, Unit A, Philadelphia. Visit their official website and follow them on Instagram.

The 2024 Build-Outs of Coffee is presented by Ceado and Dona. The 2024 Build-outs of Coffee is sponsored by Pacific Barista SeriesLa Marzocco, and Ghirardelli