Good news, Philadelphia: Town Hall Coffee is expanding to a brand new (ultra-swank) location, scheduled for the week of April 16th.
On the eve of him opening a second edition of Town Hall Coffee, we sat down with owner & entrepreneur Tim Noble via the internets to pick his brain, quiz him on the deets, and check in on the Philly coffee scene.
Can you tell us where, exactly, this new Town Hall will be located in Philly? What’s nearby?
834 Chestnut St, just east of 9th. We’re located in the Residences at the Franklin, formerly the Benjamin Franklin House Hotel, built in 1910. Abraham Lincoln gave a pre-inaugural speech on the site in 1861. We’re in the midst of Thomas Jefferson University’s Medical campus, and 2 blocks from Independence Mall, which received about 4 million visitors last year. Restaurants by Vetri, Starr, Garces, and Solomonov are all within a couple blocks. I just love the location. (Our front door is just to the left of the Main entrance to the Franklin, as shown in the picture above.)
How will Town Hall 2 differ from the original Town Hall out in Merion Station? We’ve heard rumor of a juice bar…what else?
The bar is set to cater to the higher traffic on the street, meaning we will offer limited batch brewing in the mornings, which we do not offer in Merion. The Juice bar is replacing the blended options on Merion’s menu, and may be rolled out in Merion, depending on the level of success. We will offer several new products from a great local dairy, Milky Way Farm in Chester Springs, PA, including ice creams and milk. We will also be expanding our lunchtime offerings.
Town Hall does a pretty excellent job with the multi-roaster model (if you don’t mind us saying so) – will this continue at Town Hall 2? Do you have an idea who you want to open with? Do you have a wishlist of roasters you’d love to work with, but never have?
The multi-roaster model that we’ve created (that is, many roasters, and several new coffees every couple weeks) is something that we will definitely be bringing with us to Center City. We’ve recently been featuring Counter Culture, Verve, Gimme!, Stumptown, and Intelligentsia, as well as some of our favorite local roasters like Reanimator and One Village Coffee. The decision will be made like it always is- who’s roasting what we want to serve that week? Your guess is as good as ours!
I personally buy coffee from roasters that I find difficult to work with due to shipping or pricing reasons, but you’ll see some new names on the menu. I am trying to get some coffee from the UK in this year… But we’ll see about that. There are so many great roasters to work with here on the East coast alone.
We spent a lot of time paying attention to the Philly coffee scene back in 2011, but what is the state of Philly coffee like right now, in Spring 2013?
SO MANY NEW FACES! Counter Culture’s Taster’s Challenge was a very well attended event this spring, and some established names in Philly Coffee have opened new locations in what is still a very under-served market. Joe Coffee from NYC is opening in a couple weeks, and they have another location in the works for University City later this year. A great time to be in Philadelphia coffee, and I think everyone knows it.
I’d like to see a continuation of the monthly events for the barista community, but I don’t fault anyone for not finding the time to plan them. I think tasting dinners would be a good addition.
Have you ever considered roasting? Is that ever on the horizon, or will you stick to retail multi-roaster service?
Roasting, now there’s a thought… I am in love with the whole story of coffee. I’m also aware of the completely different business model that is roasting… So for now, no plans are in the works and we’ll continue to showcase the fantastic and varied skills from our roaster partners. Standing on the shoulders of giants gives a great view.
The original Town Hall Coffee is located at 358 Montgomery Avenue, Merion Station. We wrote about it here for our 2011 Philadelphia Sprudge Guide, which is long overdue for an update. Town Hall 2 opening soon! Follow Town Hall Coffee on Facebook for all the latest.