Trolley Car Cafe, which opened in summer 2010 in the Bathey House, just off Kelly Drive at the ramp to Roosevelt Boulevard in East Falls, will close on June 30, owner Ken Weinstein announced Tuesday.
In a statement in which he expressed pride in his employees and general manager Jasmine Fields, Weinstein noted that the cafe “was not immune to the economic pressures caused by the COVID‐19 shutdown.”
Weinstein also said he would take a few steps “to treat our staff with the respect they deserve,” including providing them with more than four weeks’ notice, paying a bonus to those who stay until the closing, and offering job placement, resume-writing, and interview-prep help.
The move effectively puts Weinstein — a major Philadelphia developer — out of the restaurant business. He opened Cresheim Cottage Cafe in Mount Airy in 1996; it closed in 2009. Weinstein also owned Trolley Car Diner in Mount Airy, which closed in 2019 after 19 years. Another restaurant, Trolley Car Station at 40th Street and Baltimore Avenue in West Philadelphia, which opened in 2018 and closed seven months later, is now Renata’s Kitchen.
Though the pandemic roiled the cafe’s business, Weinstein said he waited until now to close because he would find it easier to attract someone to take over the lease with Fairmount Park. It has 20 years left. His seven remaining employees also would have an easier time finding new jobs, he said, as restaurants have gone begging for help.
“I am very hopeful for the future of the restaurant industry in Philadelphia, but the pandemic helped me realize it was time to transition out of hospitality and put my focus entirely on reinvesting in our communities through our popular Jumpstart Philly Training and Loan Program and improving our neighborhoods via Philly Office Retail’s blight removal activities,” he wrote in a statement.
Weinstein is seeking a new tenant for the Bathey House, which his company restored, helping in the revitalization of the East Falls commercial corridor.