January 20th, 2016
Written By Phillybite Magazine
The Front Street Caf?, a vibrant new eatery opened last year on the?corner of?Thompson and Front streets, is the latest on a growing list of restaurants?revitalizing the Fishtown neighborhood of Philadelphia.
Drawing inspiration from the unique character of the neighborhood, the creators of?the Front Street Caf? aspire to do more than serve great food. From its inception, the?restaurant has been designed to nourish this growing community, satisfying both?body and spirit from sun up to lights out.
Long-time Fishtown resident Nicole Barclay, was driven by a strong sense of place and purpose to create a?restaurant built around fresh, sustainable ingredients, with ample choices for?people who have dietary preferences for health or lifestyle reasons.
A juice bar and coffee shop will open early to serve morning commuters, offering?freshly made juices, smoothies, coffee from Counter Culture Coffee, as well as grab-?and-go breakfasts and lunches, just one block away from Girard Station.
Casual brunch service will begin early and run through mid-afternoon seven days a?week, with a menu offering sandwiches, salads, burgers ? and breakfast tacos with?more than 18 topping choices, including heirloom tomatoes, organic baby kale,?mushroom bacon, avocado and nacho cashew cheese. All of the ingredients down to?the condiments are made in-house or sourced organically and sustainably. Free?WiFi is offered in a comfortable second-floor community space overlooking the El,?while a backyard garden retreat has table seating for 80.
A full bar will serve creative cocktails made with freshly squeezed juices and local?ingredients, an array of craft beers drawing from both local and west-coast?breweries, and a selection of organic and biodynamic wines designed to match the?menu and pair well with artisanal cheese selections sourced from creameries across?the U.S.
The dinner menu puts a fresh spin on comfort food, including:
- Wild Rice Collard Dolmas: with citrus hemp dressing.
- Avocado Citrus Salad: Organic baby kale, avocado, mango, radish greens,?hemp, pumpkin seeds, citrus jalapeno dressing
- Mediterranean Tofu: Pan-seared fennel, sage, chili-rubbed tofu, wilted?garlic kale, fresh tomato marinara, salt-cured olives and crispy capers
- Heirloom Tomato Zucchini Lasagna: Thinly sliced zucchini, Macadamia?ricotta, basil-arugula pesto, sundried tomato, olive oil
- Organic Rotisserie Half Chicken: Orange-brined chicken, roasted baby?potatoes, stewed collard greens, chicken jus, house-made biscuits
?We really want to have a neighborhood caf? where people can eat many times a?week, and instead of weighing them down, it actually makes them healthier,? Nicole?said.
The space Front Street Caf? will occupy is one of the few 19th-century brick buildings?to survive along the Front Street train corridor. During design and construction, building owner and builder Lee Larkin retained all of the original architectural details, including an intricate 3rd story tin cornice and Schuylkill Pine hardwood floors. Almost all of the additional building?components where sourced and reclaimed from old Philadelphia buildings. Steps?were built from joists taken from a home being demolished at Temple University,?while wooden beams for the outside bar came from a warehouse at 25th and Oxford.?A display cabinet on the second floor pays homage to the history of Fishtown and?the Riverwards by showcasing hundreds of pre-Civil War artifacts that were?discovered under the property during construction.
?Everything in this place has a story to tell,? Lee said. ?And the story of this?restaurant is tied to the story of this neighborhood ? refreshed, revitalized and?bursting with energy.?