Studly cook Jonathan Adams, executive chef of Pub & Kitchen and The Diving Horse, has decided to hang up his apron and focus on his new project, Rival Bros. Coffee. Adams and partner Damien Pileggi opened the mobile coffee truck in October of 2011, and they're ready to take the next step for the business.
"I've been grinding away in the kitchen for so many years, and I've loved it. But it's time for me to focus on something new," Adams told Eater. "It's going to be hard to walk away from P&K and the crew, but I have this great opportunity. Those guys have been so supportive and understand that it's something I need to do at this point in my career."
Adams said that Rival Bros. is looking to open a brick-and-mortar to go along with their mobile operation in the near future, and it'll definitely be in Philly. "Damien and I were born and raised here, so the roots for Rival Bros. needs to be here. We love the city, and our coffee has done very well so far."
Adams has had a very prosperous career cooking in Philly, and is one of the leaders of the new wave of young and talented chefs. He spent his youth working the line under Georges Perrier, as well as Paul Liebrandt at Gilt in NYC, and in the legendary kitchen at Mugaritz, which is often listed among the top 3 restaurants in the world. His first executive chef gig took place at the modernist corner boîte, Snackbar, where Adams started making headlines. But, his biggest success came when he partnered up with Ed Hackett and Dan Clark to open Pub & Kitchen, Philly's coziest gastropub with the best burgers in the city, and the polar opposite of his previous kitchen life in Rittenhouse Square.
But now, Adams is moving into the next phase of his career, where he can focus on growing the Rival Bros. brand, perfect his product and watch his kid grow up. "I'm still doing chefs work, as the roasting process is a lot like working in kitchens, and it requires constant attention and lots of trial-and-error," Adams said. "Rival Bros. is a much different style than the big, intense flavors of some of the other labels, so we can really separate ourselves and make a name for the brand."
Adams believes that Philly's coffee culture is growing up, too, and Rival Bros. is representative of that. "As a chef, you always have to worry about keeping customers happy, and not scaring them off with being too intense," Adams said. "Nowadays, having gram scales and using a Chemex to make cups of coffee for customers isn't just for the nerdy obsessives. Everyone does it. So, I think our timing is perfect."
Even though we're seeing an explosion of new cafes opening up at a ridiculous pace, Adams isn't worried about getting lost in the shuffle. "Being a local roaster really means something to coffee drinkers. There are so many great coffee shops around, but most of them are using roasters from out of town," Adams said. "Philly people like Philly things, and we're so happy with the support we've gotten from the locals. We're ready to work on the world domination, and hope that 2013 is the start of something big for us."