Joe Coffee Debuts in Philly Today!

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Our friend Jonathan Rubinstein who owns the New York City landmark coffee company Joe, has just broken through the city limits and opened the first Joe outside of New York: please welcome Joe Coffee Philly, located in the City of Brotherly Love’s Rittenhouse Square, which opened today!

The Joe Coffee Philly team putting the finishing touches on the space before it opened for business today!

The Joe Coffee Philly team putting the finishing touches on the space before it opened for business today!

The company which is known not only for great coffee and superb service from talented, friendly baristas had seven shops until this point, plus its Pro Shop and HQ. As Jonathan excitedly opened the doors to the Philly cafe, we tore him away from the work to answer some questions for us about the new shop, the move outside of his beloved NYC, and other news Joe has in the works.

This is Joe’s first store outside of New York! What made you decide to branch into Philly?

The truth is we waited many years before deciding to try another city. In July we’ll celebrate 10 years in the biz, which makes us crazy-old in the coffee world. About 2 years ago we felt ready to perhaps try something outside of New York. We put together a list of cities we might try if the right opportunity came up. We had 2 schools of thought:  sexy and glamorous  like L.A. or Miami? Or closer to home like D.C., Boston or Philly.   Ultimately the Philly landlord for the building we are attached to decided he wanted a coffee bar to bring energy to his building. He went on a national search and brought in a few great brands to check out the space, ourselves included.  The space and neighborhood were amazing and beautiful and packed with people…Totally inspiring. We walked around the area of Rittenhouse Square, and were introduced to a few locals. We were delighted that many of them knew our brand and thought we’d be a smash here, and knowing our brand might mean something here sealed the deal. We got on a train and discussed it for all of 3 minutes before putting in a proposal.  We were then doubly excited when our train pulled into NYC 70 minutes later, and we realized how easy it was for our staff to get back and forth and how much wiser it was then trying to open something across the country.

At 1,200 square feet, this new Joe Coffee is a lot bigger than its siblings in New York, which are all around 500 square feet.

At 1,200 square feet, this new Joe Coffee is a lot bigger than its siblings in New York, which are all around 500 square feet.

Will this store be similar to the other Joes? How is it different?

We have the luxury of space here—the spot is 1200 square feet as opposed to our usual 500 square feet in NYC—so we could do more seating, a longer bar, a more functional brew bar and a more interactive set up.  We also have outdoor seating which is icing on the cake.
The view out of the front window of the newest Joe Coffee, which opened today in Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia.

The view out of the front window of the newest Joe Coffee, which opened today in Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia.

Joe has been a very active part of the New York barista community — do you hope to do the same in Philly?
We do!  Philly has a thriving coffee scene and it’s so important that we come and be part of it. We have been visited today (opening day) by so many supporters from other  coffee shops and it’s been so fun watching the community bump into each other- We just spoke to the owner of Elixr an hour ago about doing a throwdown.
Do you have plans to open more Joes outside of New York — elsewhere on the East Coast, or even farther afield?
Ask me that in a year!  Truly, if our 2 locations succeed (we open in University City in August straddling Drexel University and University of Pennsylvania) and we think we can bring value to another city and provide opportunities to our staff, then we’ll consider it.  It just had to make sense to our community and our brand.
Thanks for sharing this exciting news with us, Jonathan! And Barista Magazine blog readers, be sure to stay tuned for more photos of Joe Coffee Philly!
One more juicy piece of news before we leave you: Jonathan reports that Joe has been roasting more and more coffees as of late, and for day one of Joe Coffee Philly, six of the coffees on offer were roasted by Joe! The espresso continues to be Black Cat for the moment, but Jonathan predicts Joe Coffee will be roasting all of its own stuff by July 22! Go Joe! Go Jonathan! You guys are an inspiration.

About the Author

Sarah Allen is co-founder and editor of Barista Magazine, the international trade magazine for coffee professionals. A passionate advocate for baristas, quality, and the coffee community, Sarah has traveled widely to research stories, interact with readers, and present on a variety of topics affecting specialty coffee. She also loves animals, swimming, ice cream, and living in Portland, Oregon.