Coffee Break: La Colombe
Where: 1335 Frankford Ave. The lowdown: Java giant La Colombe Torrefaction just opened a sprawling new shop in Fishtown. Once you enter, you might never leave. It's the Hotel California of coffee shops, basically.
Where: 1335 Frankford Ave.
The lowdown: Java giant La Colombe Torrefaction just opened a sprawling new shop in Fishtown. Once you enter, you might never leave. It's the Hotel California of coffee shops, basically.
Hours: 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Sunday-Wednesday, 7 a.m.-10 p.m. Thursday-Saturday.
Backstory: It's safe to say that co-owners Todd Carmichael and JP Iberti don't need any introductions. Twenty years after launching their company in Philly, Carmichael and Iberti recently announced a $28.5 million plan to put 100 shops across the country. But the Frankford Avenue location is their most ambitious - housing a rum distillery, corporate offices, a tasting room and a wood-burning oven that churns out delectable eats. "It was three separate warehouse buildings that hadn't been used in some time," said Ben Contois, who manages La Colombe's coffee bars in the city. "There really aren't a lot of cafes like this one, structurally. It's massive."
Ambience: The shop blends so seamlessly into its DIY-flavored neighborhood that some customers couldn't figure out how long it had been there - on the first day it opened. Inside, it couldn't be more different from the many quiet, claustrophobic coffee shops that have sprouted in the city during the past few years. This one seems to stretch for miles, with booths and tables along exposed brick walls. (Check out the colorful coffee mural by local artist Steve "ESPO" Powers.) "Once people get over the size . . . it's a comfortable place," Contois said. "It carries that traditional La Colombe vibe. You come here to step away from your day-to-day business."
Human touch: As with other La Colombe shops, Wi-Fi isn't available. Making eye contact with other humans is encouraged.
Drink up: Contois recommended trying the three pour-overs currently being offered. The Panamanian is "something not to be missed." Also worth your time: the Colombian and Guatemalan. "Every single one of them has something that sets it apart from the other."
Beyond beans: There's a lot to devour, from freshly baked bread and pastries to salads, sandwiches (French Drip = coffee roast beef) and skillets (hello, biscuits and gravy). You can also get Carmichael's and Iberti's rum, or beer from Yards or Conshohocken Brewing Co.
Prices: Single pour-overs, $4 to $8; loaves of bread, $4 to $9; rum, $6; pint of beer, $6; skillets, $12 to $15; sandwiches, $5 to $12; salads, $10 to $15; tartines, $8 to $9.
Social stuff: Twitter: @LaColombeCoffee. Facebook: La Colombe Torrefaction.