Homegrown coffee giant La Colombe won the approval of the city Zoning Board of Adjustment on Wednesday to create a coffee shop with bakery and a rum distillery at 1335 Frankford Ave. in Fishtown.
The Fishtown Neighbors Association signed off on the project the night before.
Not that La Colombe will be cooking hootch in the onetime storage building just up the street from Frankford Hall, Fette Sau and Johnny Brenda’s.
La Colombe’s JP Iberti and zoning attorney Ron Patterson emphasized that the bulk of the distilling would be done at La Colombe’s roasting plant in Port Richmond. There will be a coffee tasting room but no roasting in Fishtown.
La Colombe will install distilling apparatus behind a glass partition. People can watch the finished product come out. “It’s really for show,” said Roland Kassis, the project’s developer. The La Colombe-branded rum will be sold but not served in the store.
La Colombe has been refining its process - by which it filters the rum through coffee - for months in Port Richmond.
An on-site bakery is planned, too, as are offices for La Colombe. Currently, Iberti and cofounder Todd Carmichael (host of Dangerous Grounds on Travel Channel) work out of a small office at the plant.
The project is on track for a 2014 opening, Kassis told me.