If there was a charitable restaurant or cocktail event in this town in the last two decades, Katie Loeb has been there, lending a hand.
With a full resume - and a book to her credit, Shake, Stir, Pour, with a foreword by Jose Garces — she is among the pioneers of the local craft-cocktail scene, making her own syrups and infusions.
Now, she is in hospice, as her cousin Antonio Arroyo, her closest relative says she is losing a two-year battle with cancer that has spread to her stomach and liver.
Loeb, 57 and a native of Teaneck, N.J., who moved to Philadelphia to attend the University of Pennsylvania, had kept the dire details mostly to herself until recently, Arroyo said.
“She always put a brave face on it," he said. “She didn’t want a pity party." He added that there has been a parade of people visiting her on the sixth floor at Penn Hospice at Rittenhouse, at 18th and Lombard Streets, which makes sense, given her connections.
She has worked seemingly everywhere - including for Neil Stein at his restaurants including Rouge and Avenue B, at Chick’s Wine Bar, and at Amada, where she devised the red sangria recipe that is still poured.
Her friends are being asked to contribute to her medical costs via a GoFundMe campaign launched by Barbara Spector, one of her closest friends and college roommate at Penn.
More background is included in this Billy Penn article.