Entering A New High Point In Brewerytown

 

Come on in, we're open

Come on in, we’re open

When Meg Hagele opened High Point Cafe in July 2005, she brought her Seattle brand of coffee expertise to her home neighborhood of Mount Airy. Kitty-corner from Weavers Way seemed a slam dunk location for a great little coffee shop. She found out quickly how true the ‘little’ part was — something she’s finally starting to alleviate with a forthcoming wholesale operation a few blocks over and a new coffee shop that opened here in Brewerytown last week. Olymptrade customer service

Latte for one at the original High Point Cafe on Carpenter Lane in Mount Airy

Latte for one at the original High Point Cafe on Carpenter Lane in Mount Airy

But High Point was not the first cafe Hagele opened. After working for years at the original location of Seattle’s Caffe Ladro — the popular roaster and coffeehouse now has fourteen across that city and its suburbs — she opened Cafe Besalu, a bakery and cafe in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood. She came home to Philadelphia in 2005 and hit the ground running.

It became clear early on that High Point would need more than the cozy space they kept on Carpenter Lane, but they marched on, cranking out baked goods and fresh brew to a growing cast of regulars. “Oh we were busting at the seems,” she remembers with a laugh.

In October 2008, as the Phillies marched on themselves toward a World Series title, the doors to a second High Point Cafe opened in SEPTA’s historic Allen(s) Lane train station. “The Allens Lane space opened to relieve a little of that built up overflow,” Hagele says, pointing out that it’s within a mile of the original.

Of course a second location will build on that audience with one of its own when it’s serving the same cranberry orange scones and bleu cheese walnut biscuits, double lattes and shots-in-the-dark (a coffee with a shot of espresso) … oh, and those cr√™pes. Ham and cheddar and caramelized onions? “French toast” with eggs, cinnamon sugar, and bacon? Yeah. Now there were two crowded places.

So after several years of kicking tires, Hagele and her handpicked coffee roaster Stephane Rowley got the space they needed for real expansion, a former office building in Mount Airy where their wholesale baking and coffee roasting needs will serve not just their own two locations, but other cafes including some who’ve already lined up. Not long after this, a vacancy opened the former Mugshots Coffeehouse on Girard Avenue in Brewerytown.

“Our expansion plan did not include a third location,” Hagele says. “But I saw a photo of the space with the arched ceiling and thought, ‘I’ll come down for a visit, you know, as a courtesy’.” The former Leins building wooed her and she was sold.

Beautiful details abound inside the new High Point Cafe on Girard Avenue

Beautiful details abound inside the new High Point Cafe on Girard Avenue

“The vibrancy of Girard Avenue as a commercial corridor is really important,” she observes, recognizing it as the backbone of a community oriented neighborhood. “That’s what High Point is.”

More over, she recognized Brewerytown’s proximity to Center City as a major asset for her growing business. “Potential clients have always looked at us in Mount Airy as being out in the sticks, so it’s important to us to have a place in a more urban setting.”

And they’ve already got that showcase humming. Last Sunday, High Point opened at 2831 W. Girard Ave., initiating a set of new regulars — and even some old ones. “In coming down here during the buildout (her brother doubles as her contractor), I saw Max [from Brewerytown Beats] and Dan [from Icy Signs] and thought, hey, these guys are already my regulars from Mount Airy!” Seeing the familiar faces, she wasn’t sure if all of Mount Airy was coming to Brewerytown with her.

Considering Mount Airy’s known as a beautiful part of town with lots of small businesses, bringing a little bit of that beauty to Brewerytown’s not a bad thing. And the growing neighborhood around the new High Point Cafe is happy to help continue growing her business.

Come in out of the cold and warm up with a hot coffee

Come in out of the cold and warm up with a hot coffee

A Free Concert to Benefit The John Coltrane House

Brewerytown Living, The John Coltrane House and Philadelphia Jazz Project are proud to announce a John Coltrane tribute and benefit concert taking place July 18th from 6-8pm at Veteran’s Memorial Park, 31st Street and Girard Avenue in Brewerytown. The concert is also being sponsored by the local Brewerytown businesses and nonprofits MMPartners, RyBrew, Shifty’s Tacos, Dhengi Brand, GAMBA, Fairmount CDC and Give and Go Athletics. Saint Benjamin’s Brewery is also a sponsor.

Free to the public, this concert will feature performances of Coltrane’s music by Alfie Politt and his band, and is intended to both build awareness and raise funds for The John Coltrane House. Local restaurants Shifty’s Tacos and Rybrew will provide food, and Saint Benjamin Brewing Company will provide beer to taste.

The John Coltrane House is a National Historic Landmark, and is located at 1511 N 33rd Street in Brewerytown. The legendary saxophonist purchased it in 1952. After his passing, the house was lived in by his mother as well as his Cousin Mary, who was also the title of a well-known composition of Coltrane’s. The house fell into disrepair over recent decades, and now the recently formed non-profit The John Coltrane House, led by Lenora Early, is working to restore it and open it to the public as a museum and center for Jazz studies.

All the concert details and updates can be found at this link.

LOTS of Activities in Brewerytown this Week!

Spring weather has returned to our beautiful city, but Brewerytown is getting hot! Just this week there are 3 fun, FREE, events in and around the neighborhood.

  • Thursday May 16th at 6pm; Khari Mateen will perform at veteran’s memorial Park, 31st & Girard; Khari played last year and simply crushed it; his jazzy, soulful, funky sound is 100% unique and should not be missed.
  • Also on Thursday the 16th, once the concert is done, you can take a short walk down to 22nd & Fairmount for the first Night Market of the year.
  • Luckily, Friday is an off day so you can rest up, because Saturday is the 5th annual Brewerytown Spring Festival! This year’s festival will feature 25 (!) food trucks, as well as live music, BEER, magic, children’s activities, a raffle and more! The festival takes place on the 2600-2800 blocks of West Girard Avenue.

Return of the Brewerytown Food Truck Roundup

Remember last year’s Brewerytown Food Truck Roundup? The 20+ individual trucks, live music, big crowds, super huge amounts of fun on a an acre sized lot at the corner of 27th & Girard? Well, we are teaming up with the Philadelphia Mobile Food Association to do it again! This time the Roundup will be held in conjunction with the Brewerytown Spring Festival on May 18th. The Spring Festival features LOTS of artisans selling their handmade goods,live music and more! It will unfold over the 2700 and 2800 blocks from 12-5pm. We’ll have more details about the Roundup, and the Spring Festival as the the date gets closer, so stay tuned…

Changes at Next American City

There’ve been lots of changes at the Brewerytown based urban policy journal Next American City, starting with the name: they are now known as Next City, reflecting an increased international content. The other big move they recently made was to relocate their offices and connected Storefront for Urban Innovation down The Avenue in Brewerytown, from 2816 W Girard to 2711 W Girard.

This move was celebrated by the opening of a fantastic photography exhibit by Tieshka Smith entitled Portraits of Brewerytown, who described it:

These photographs document the lives of people with an abiding love for Brewerytown. The love for their neighborhood was channeled into the many stories they shared with me — stories of wisdom, humor and insight; stories that directly relate to places in Brewerytown; stories that must be shared. These stories, like an architectural gem or a business corridor, deserve to be preserved — and indeed, must be preserved. This is our reasoning for this collection: by remembering these stories, collecting their images and weaving them onto our map of Brewerytown, we are helping to restore and transform community.

The exhibit runs through February 16th, so go check it out!!

2012 Toy Drive in Brewerytown

If you recall, last year around this time we helped spread the word about, in general, the amazing work the West Girard Community Council performs in Brewerytown, and specifically their annual holiday toy drive. The holidays are upon us again, and the good folks at WGCC are at it again. So please consider helping out by donating a toy!

There are convenient drop-off locations in Brewerytown at Best in Show Grooming, Mugshots CoffeeHouse & Cafe, Luxxe Nail Spa and Floyd & Diann’s Tire Service.

Sneak Preview of ICY Sign Co.

We told you the exciting news about Steve Powers’ ICY Sign Co. coming to Brewerytown after stints in Brooklyn and Johannesburg. We hear it will open to the public next sometime week. We got into the store the other week and took a bunch of photos for a sneak preview. Enjoy!

ICY Sign Co. in Brewerytown

The world renowned, and Philadelphia bred, artist Steve Powers (aka ESPO) is bringing his part-art studio, part-community outreach ICY Sign Co. to Brewerytown courtesy of neighborhood developers MMPartners who are donating a storefront at 2819 W Girard for the cause. Powers is best known loally for his amazing Love Letters series around the EL in West Philadelphia. Brewerytown’s Next American City got the scoop, and recently interviewed Powers, who says he will be making free signs for local Girard Avenue businesses, because

“You’ve got economic development agencies working in all these neighborhoods to help businesses,” he said. “What’s the one thing they’re all focusing on? Signage.”

ICY Sign Co.’s Brooklyn outpost was recently featured in Art In America, so we can’t wait to see how the ICY aesthetic helps transform the visual landscape of The Avenue!

BIG SALE Happening at Girard Supply Co.

All good things must come to an end; and with the leaves falling and the sun setting at 5 PM, the time has come for Brewerytown’s stylish little pop-up garden store, Girard Supply Co., to close for the season. Their last days are this Saturday and Sunday, November 9th and 10th.

BUT. Before they do close they are having a BIG SALE!!! All perennials are 1/2 price, and tulip bulbs are only $1!! In addition, there will great discounts on houseplants and garden decor. Go check them out, and pick up something to plant before the frost hits!! Girard Supply Co. is loacetd at 2710 W Girard Avenue in Brewerytown, Philadelphia.

Two Incredible Art Studios for Rent in Brewerytown

Classic art studios on former warehouse buildings are always in short supply, we were just given a head’s up about these two beauties currently available. Don’t miss out!

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