As you know, yesterday was Sunday Funday, and I took that very seriously, which is why I elected not to post anything new on the blog.
Instead, I did a little research for you and tried out one of Philadelphia’s most-loved coffee shops.
La Columbe Torrefaction started out in the ’90s as one little shop in Rittenhouse Square, one of my favorite parts of Philadelphia. Today, there are a total of 13 shops spread out in New York, D.C., Chicago and Philly, including the newer flagship shop in Fishtown, which I visited yesterday. Apparently, it’s been open for about a year, but I didn’t find out until recently because I’m not in that area too often. And I think they’re keeping it a secret, hidden gem for now. I don’t blame them.
If you’ve ever had coffee in Philly, there’s a good chance it was La Columbe. Many of the local coffee shops serve it. (I’m assuming because they’re proud of the booming local business.) Until today, I thought maybe everyone was hyping it up a bit more than it deserved, but after visiting the Fishtown location, I can see why they show them so much love.
This place is legit. First of all, it’s freaking huge, and it was totally packed with people. Not in an obnoxious, “I can’t hear myself think” kind of way, but in a “Wow, this must be the cool place to be” kind of way.
We waited in a pretty decent line, but we were served samples of fresh brewed coffee made with a product you can buy from the shop, so we were entertained. I’ll be honest—I was too busy looking around at my wondrous surroundings to make note of the coffee or the brewer, but I do remember it was tasty.
The menu featured a wide variety of offerings, including coffee, espresso drinks, bakery treats, fresh bread, pretzels, sandwiches, pizza (made from a huge, gorgeous pizza oven), gelato and cocktails. Yes, cocktails. I’m telling you, they have everything. It’s pretty crazy for “just a coffee” company.
We decided on two mochas, a pumpkin chocolate chip cookie and a prosciutto leek parmesan biscuit. Commence the drooling.
It was, as expected, pretty fabulous. A super enthusiastic employee informed us that they make their own unsweetened chocolate in house, and we may want to add sweetener to our drinks depending on our tastes. I thought it was rich and creamy enough without it, but it’s certainly not your typical, coffee chain mocha. If Starbucks’ mocha is your saving grace, you may not be into La Columbe’s.
You probably would still be into their atmosphere though, which made me feel happy, relaxed and super cool. It’s very clear that La Columbe has a youthful, urban following that can only be described as hipster. (I mean that in the best way. I wish I was that fly.)
The interior is modern industrial perfection with a massive mural style wall and pretty chalkboard menus. There are tables for days and lots of natural light from the front windows. (I would have gotten photo evidence, but I was trying not to look too much like a dorky tourist.)
I could have easily stayed all afternoon, but Sunday Funday had other plans for us. We decided to move onto another new Fishtown spot called Front Street Cafe for pumpkin smoothies(!) plus actual food for the boyfriend. (I stuck with a mostly liquid diet.) Then, we took a walk through Rittenhouse Square to check out some of the shops, dream homes and fall leaves. Let it be known, though—I will definitely be back at La Columbe soon.
According to philly.com, the owners are planning to expand nationwide, so if I were you I’d get on board now. All the cool kids are doing it.