Vegan wholesale bakery Batter & Crumbs is getting into the café business. Owners John Schultz and Paul Carmine are shooting for a summer opening for their coffee shop and bakery at 1401 Reed Street. The South Philly shop will carry coffee, sandwiches, and the baked goods diners can now find at a handful of restaurants around the city.
When Schultz and Carmine first went vegan nine years ago, the hardest thing for them to give up was half and half in their coffee. They’ve since switched to soy creamer and soy milk, but the couple couldn’t find a replacement for pastries — so Schultz began experimenting with vegan recipes. His homemade cakes and S’mores bars eventually morphed into a business venture for the pair and they’ve been running Batter & Crumbs out of a commercial kitchen in Brookhaven in Delaware County since 2014. Carmine is also what he calls a “vegan consultant” at Frankie’s on Fairview, a restaurant in Woodlyn that carries Batter & Crumbs’ apple bread French toast.
After a few years as a bakery providing local restaurants with dairy-free, egg-free sweets and filling individual delivery orders, Batter & Crumbs has developed a fan following among Philly vegans and Carmine and Schultz feel they’re ready for a brick and mortar shop. “We envision a vegan Starbucks of sorts,” Carmine says.
The 16-seat café will offer standard coffee and tea drinks, brownies, cupcakes, pies, and dessert bars, and pre-made sandwiches. The corner storefront (at Reed and Carlisle, a block west of Broad) has been vacant for several years, Carmine says, and is currently gutted, so they have a lot of work to do before the opening.