Philadelphia has long been a haven for interesting and beautiful cafes, and our friends and partners at La Colombe Coffee have been a big part of that scene since their founding in the city in 1994. La Colombe has seen a wave of national expansion recently, with new locations open or in the works in Chicago, Washington, DC, and New York City. But the grandaddy of them all is this ambitious new facility they have planned in Philadelphia’s Fishtown neighborhood. The space will house a cafe, a bakery, a distillery, offices, and a coffee lab, and represents a major step for the company, and we’re very curious to see where it takes them.
The distillery party of the equation is already up and running, with La Colombe now taking orders for their “Different Drum” line of coffee rum. La Colombe shot glasses sold separately.
As told to Sprudge by Esen Pence.
Tell us about Fishtown!
Fishtown is a historic neighborhood in Philadelphia inhabited mainly German fishermen and Polish & Irish Catholics starting in the 19th century. Legend says it was named by Charles Dickens when he visited but it’s apparently not true, although we like the story better that way. It’s a great neighborhood now filled with restaurants/bars (Johnny Brenda’s, Fette Sau, Frankford Hall, Lloyd, Bottle Bar, Barcade, Loco Pez, Cedar Point, Ekta, Kraftwork, Sketch, Pizza Brain & Little Baby’s Ice Cream), cafes (Soup Kitchen, The Milkcrate Cafe, Steap and Grind, Reanimator Coffee Roasters, and The Rocket Cat Café) and art galleries/art studios. A lot of La Colombe people live there now: JP [La Colombe co-founder JP Iberti] has been living there for a while… two of the sales guys, our single origin roaster, the baker, head of creative (myself)…
As far as the cafe goes, it’s really a cafe + bakery + distillery + offices + coffee lab. The space is huge! It’s taking three old warehouses and combining them in a Y shape. There are skylights throughout the entire roof so we’ll have a lot of sunlight.
What’ll the coffee service be like?
Classic La Colombe style: Espresso drinks, batch brew Corsica blend + a rotation of single origins, and, of course, a variety of single origins on the Alphadominche Steampunk.
Any machines, coffees, special equipment lined up?
Among other machines, there will be a La Marzocco Strada 3-Group (EE) on the main bar. Also an [Alpha Dominche] Steampunk. Grinders include, Mazzer, Nuova Simonelli Mythos, Mahlkönig EK43, and more.
Your new megaplex in Fishtown plans on opening in August?
Crossing our fingers!
Talk to us about the architects and craftspeople you’re working with.
Gibbs Connors will be painting the facade, colors TBD. We’ve worked with him for years. He does all of our large cafe signage, window signage and the hand-painted, gilded logos on our vans.
Our architect is Judy Robinson of stokes architecture, and we’ll work with Steven Powers, whose done other great work in Philadelphia, for a mural inside. Rich Stokes is the interior designer.
Are you deep in the throes of a sweaty summer build-out? Let us know about it! Read more Build-Outs Of Summer here.