Sunday, August 2, 2015

Beauty Shop Cafe's coffee makeover

Farmers' Cabinet's crew is taking over.

Beauty Shop Cafe's coffee makeover

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Beauty Shop Cafe at 20th and Fitzwater Streets.
Beauty Shop Cafe at 20th and Fitzwater Streets. Via Google

Beauty Shop Cafe at 20th and Fitzwater Streets is closed for a makeover.

The bruncherie, which helped caffeinate the gentrification crowd in the Graduate Hospital/Southwest Center City neighborhood from its opening six years ago, has a new owner who plans to reopen in a matter of weeks under a new name and with a coffee-centric concept.

It's Matt Swartz, who runs the Farmers' Cabinet in Center City. Before you ask what a bar guy wants with a coffeeshop, know that one of his managers is Philip Search, a coffee consultant with an impressive resume and track record in both New York and the Pacific Northwest (as a trainer for Dallis Bros., he competed in the U.S. Barista Championship two years ago).

Swartz said a coffee bar and a wine/beer bar have much in common. "You go [to both] for the customer service," he said, adding that a coffee shop is a logical training ground for a bartender.

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Search, who knows his way around a bar, ran the Beauty Shop for its last few days and said he got ideas of what the locals want. "It won't be hipstery," he told me. The new shop, which is still unnamed, will be comfortable and dog-friendly, he said.

Search bemoans the state of coffee here as he contends that there's "not much diversity" among the so-called Third Wave coffee shops. Most use Counter Culture. Search says that the new shop may end up roasting its own.

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Michael Klein, the editor/producer of philly.com/Food, writes about the local restaurant scene in his Inquirer column "Table Talk." Have a question? Email it! See his Inquirer work here.

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