We were in Fishtown earlier today and the thought occurred that we hadn't hit up Rocket Cat Cafe in awhile, so we headed over there with thoughts of some kind of vegan sandwich dancing in our head. When we arrived, we felt our heart and stomach hit the floor simultaneously.
Well that certainly looks like some buildings getting torn down. For those that had never seen Rocket Cat Cafe in the past, this is what it looked like previously.
Until a few weeks ago
We first went to Rocket Cat over a decade ago, before gentrification really got moving in Fishtown. Since it opened way back in 2003, it maintained a certain gritty character that's been fading out in Fishtown. And the thought that it was seemingly gone made us quite sad. Then we did just a little bit of digging around and discovered the excellent news, that Rocket Cat is merely closed down temporarily while their home undergoes a major renovation effort. Huzzah!
Behind this building is the 700 block of Daly Street, a fairly standard South Philly block with a little more vacancy than we'd have expected. The north side of the street is mostly filled in, though there are a handful of double-wide vacant lots to be found. The south side of the block worse, with a mix of vacant lots and a fenced-in surface parking lot. It's two of the vacant lots on the south side, 728 and 730 Daly St., that have the zoning notices.
A new addition has appeared on Laurel Street in Northern Liberties, representing the second phase of a project that began over a decade ago. According to a story in Arch Daily, Capital Meats was located at 144-158 W. Laurel St. for about 80 years, closing in 1989. After the business closed, the buildings quickly fell into disrepair, looking absolutely terrible by 1999, when folks from Onion Flats took their first tour. They purchased the property, demolishing the structure at the corner of Hancock & Laurel and converting the remaining building into 8 units, dubbed Capital Flats. This project was finished in 2002 and looked pretty much the same until last year.
Omega Pizza operated at the northeast corner of 22nd & South for many years, offering lousy pizza but an extensive selection of slightly overpriced beer. It closed its doors a few weeks ago and now its old home is being demolished, to be replaced by a five-story mixed-use building with a Wawa on the first floor. We last updated you on this project when it came before CCRA over the summer, and we can tell you that it got approval from the ZBA back in August. Now, Alterra Property Group is moving forward with their plan for a new building with 29 apartments, a handful of parking spaces, and the aforementioned Wawa. If you'd like to pay your final respects to Omega Pizza, you'd better get over there soon.
Old view of Omega Pizza
Mostly demolished now
We reached out to the developers to ask for final renderings of the project but they're still finalizing exactly what the building will look like. At this point, all we can show you is an old image from when they came to CCRA, and now we'll have to patiently wait a couple months to get a final answer on what we can expect in terms of the building's appearance.
Okay, show of hands, who remembers Wurst House Pizzeria, the awfully named place at 43rd & Baltimore that was better known for its 40s than for its pizza? Perhaps more people recall when new owners came in about a decade ago and "rebranded" the place as Best House Pizzeria despite the fact that there was very little about it that was even mediocre? Surely most of you know that Best House Pizza closed a couple years ago and was eventually replaced by Clarkville, a gastropubby pizza place from the folks that own Local 44. And if you've never been to Clarkville or Local 44, what are you waiting for?