Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Philadelphian Invasion Continues

Philadelphia’s current invasion of the New York food, wine and street culture scene started in March 2006, when restaurateur and “dinner as theater” mogul Stephen Starr opened not one but two trendy spots – Buddakan NYC and Morimoto NYC – in Chelsea. One of the Philadelphia area’s few independent fine wine shops followed suit shortly thereafter, dropping anchor near Union Square in June 2006. The most recent wave – call it Manayunk Attacks – occurred this month, as La Colombe Torrefaction and Cadence Performance Cycling Center, both of which lend substance to Manayunk’s Main Street scene in Philly, opened shops in TriBeCa.

Scenes from the originals (clockwise from top left): Cadence's Manayunk storefront; La Colombe's placard as seen from their Main Street sidewalk café; José Maldonado rules the roost at Cadence; a very fine Macchiato at La Colombe.

I’m happy to report that this does not appear to be simply an effort by a few of Philly’s most successful stars (no pun intended) to justify their reps by moving up to the big city. Rather, I think it represents a national awakening to Philly’s coming of age as a breeding ground for great food and cultural direction. It’s not that these businesses reached puberty in the city of brotherly love and had to move to the big apple to grow up; rather, they’ve matured in Philly and are answering a hunger for their goods and skills in New York. Sure, there’s plenty of ego and ambition involved. But, whatever your thoughts about the concerned parties, there’s also some indisputable talent, success and quality product.

What will the third wave bring? Vetri and Capogiro get my votes. Any other predictions or requests out there?


Marcus said...


New York's come to Montreal for super very macchiatos too. A nice move. I've even started becoming a coffee blogger as a result.

David McDuff said...

I'll be leaving the coffee blogging in your capable hands, Marcus. I will say, though, that I've been surprised for years at the relative lack of a coffee shop culture in NYC. It's good to see them catching up with a little help from our fair cities.

Marcus said...

I agree. The last year or so in New York has been huge.

My barista just won a trophy at the National Coffee Barista Championships in Toronto. His name is Anthony Benda, and he originally comes from Vancouver. I'm glad he's here now.

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