The very first Philly outpost of Joe Coffee is opening up on April 2 at 1845 Walnut Street on the ground floor of the building. Owner/empire builder Jonathan Rubinstein told Eater he picked Philadelphia for a few reasons, most notably because of our already top-tier coffee scene.
"Anyone in the business knows how strong Philly's coffee scene is," Rubinstein told Eater. "It's smaller in scale, but I think the best shops in Philly are at least as good as what we have in NYC, if not better."
Rubinstein said he's a little nervous about opening so close to the flagship La Colombe cafe, but couldn't turn down the space when he saw it first-hand. Especially when the landlord said he was going to put in a high-end coffee shop at any cost.
"He told me it was going to be a coffee place no matter what, whether it was us or Intelligentsia or Blue Bottle or someone," Rubenstein said. "And when I saw the view looking out on Rittenhouse Park, I had to take it."
Joe Coffee is known for their educational programs for coffee drinkers of all levels, and Rubinstein said that trend would continue at the Philly shop. He also stressed that they are against any type of coffee elitism, and all coffee fans will have a home there.
"The Philly coffee drinker is an educated consumer, which is exciting for us, but we also want casual fans to hang out at Joe, as well," Rubinstein said. "If you're a fan of Dunkin' Donuts coffee and don't think you fit in with the high-end consumer, we're going to do everything we can to bridge that gap and make you realize that coffee fanatics are coffee fanatics no matter what you drink or how you drink."
Rubinstein said he had options to open in L.A. and Boston, but thought that the West Coast "wasn't realistic" at this point, and their neighbors to the north would be too much of a paradigm shift for the coffee scene there. "We weren't sure that Boston would support us and that we could be successful there, as the public isn't into what we do, and we would have to sell them on our product much more than in Philly."
While Rubinstein's assessment that our coffee scene is ahead of the one in New York felt a little like sunshine being blown up our collective butts, La Colombe honcho Todd Carmichael agreed with the statement, and backed it up with numbers.
"He's right, you know," Carmichael told Eater. "NYC imports 4.5 million pounds of coffee from Philly each year, not the other way around. It's something to be proud of."
Either way, it looks like our avant garde coffee scene is about to get another solid addition in the form of Joe Coffee on April 2, and they'll have one hell of a view for their customers.