Rooster Soup Co., the partnership between Federal Donuts and the Broad Street Ministry’s Hospitality Collaborative that opened in January 2017 and last summer rebranded as Jewish deli The Rooster, is closing its doors for good on Saturday, June 8.
In a public letter, Mike Solomonov and Steve Cook, the lauded restaurateurs who just brought home a major James Beard Award for their 11-year-old Society Hill hit Zahav, wrote that the philanthropic Rooster was not making enough money to continue.
The Rooster is run by the Federal Donuts team: Solomonov and Cook along with Felicia D’Ambrosio, Tom Henneman, and Bob Logue. Soups at The Rooster are made with leftover chicken backs and bones from Federal Donuts’ fried chicken, giving what would be food waste a second use, and the restaurant gives all of its profits to the Broad Street Hospitality Collaborative to support Philadelphians in need.
“Although the restaurant started strong two and half years ago, for well over a year we have been funding losses out of pocket in an effort to buy time for The Rooster to find its footing. For a restaurant whose fundamental premise is to generate funds for our non-profit partner, this has become an untenable and counterproductive situation,” Solomonov and Cook wrote. “This is not the first restaurant we have closed and will likely not be the last. But while The Rooster will not live on in its current form, we feel compelled to reflect on what we have accomplished. Because somehow, this tiny, subterranean diner sparked a national conversation about the role of hospitality in building a just society.”
Elaborating on The Rooster’s achievements, they wrote:
The Rooster made a statement that the business and not-for-profit worlds can be natural allies – not adversaries – in the fight against the intractable problems that face our society.
It made a statement that the hospitality industry is a natural leader in the struggle to care for the most vulnerable members of our community. As restaurant owners and patrons, we understand the power of the invitation and the ability of even the smallest social interaction to restore our faith in ourselves and our fellow humans.
And it made a statement that our entire community has a stake in caring for the poorest among us. More than 1,500 of you came together from all walks of life to provide financial support via our Kickstarter campaign. Many thousands more provided patronage and encouragement these past few years. We cannot thank you enough for taking this journey with us, even if we haven’t made it all the way home – yet.
Solomonov and Cook urged people to continue supporting the Broad Street Ministry, through contributions or volunteering.
The duo has several other projects in the works, including Israel bakery and cafe K’Far, opening soon in Rittenhouse.