People like to say that a little coffee shop can be a good indication that a neighborhood has achieved “up and coming” status. If that’s the case, then what does it mean when a neighborhood or a corridor has a bunch of little coffee shops, one after the other? Such is the case on Passyunk Avenue, where Essen leads to B2 which leads to Black ‘n Brew, and then after a small gap, Capogiro leads to Plenty Cafe which leads to Chhaya Cafe. And now Rival Bros. has joined the fray, opening their third location at the corner of 11th & Tasker, right in the middle of the aforementioned gap in the corridor.
We visited the new cafe, and the operation is pretty much identical to the other two Rival Bros. locations. Ordering takes place in a front room, with seating for 25-30 in a back room that’s up a small staircase. We grabbed a tasty peanut butter toast, and also took advantage of a coffee Citywide special, getting a mug of coffee and a double shot of espresso for three bucks. We don’t usually drink that much coffee, and based on how crazy we feel right now, that was probably a bad choice. Still, that was some tasty coffee.
As we said, there’s a ton of competition in the immediate area. Fortunately, the cafes on the corridor do a pretty good job differentiating from each other. Chhaya and Black ‘n Brew have full kitchens, and Plenty Cafe has a liquor license. As Essen, the baked goods are front and center, not coffee. At Capogiro, they’re primarily known for their gelato. Fortunately for Rival Bros., they’ve found a great location across from the singing fountain which should somewhat insulate them from the copious competition on the corridor.
Passyunk Avenue continues to evolve as a combination of a collection of stores and restaurants that serve the day to day needs of the local neighborhood and a destination commercial corridor. This Rival Bros. location falls into the former category, offering additional convenience and variety for people in the area. We’re gonna say though, with this place now open, the neighborhood and the corridor are probably set in the cafe department.