If you’ve driven, biked, or walked over the South Street Bridge in the last year and a half or so, you’ve surely noticed the slow but steady pace of construction, as the first of four new CHOP buildings has risen on Schuylkill Avenue. And if you’ve traveled on the bridge in the last month or two, you’ve probably noticed that the parking garage and its newly functioning traffic light are already starting to snarl traffic, a phenomenon that will only get worse as CHOP’s presence grows on this side of the river. But we digress.
You may recall, CHOP met with the community several times in advance of this project, both because they needed a variance to proceed with construction and because it’s kinda the thing to do when building such a high impact project in a mostly residential neighborhood. The community worked with CHOP on a number of issues, notably pushing for a retail space on South Street as part of the project. And when we say a retail space on South Street, we actually mean a retail space on the South Street Bridge itself.
A few weeks ago, we saw a Facebook post on the Southwest Center City group that indicated that Waterfront Gourmetwould be taking over this space. This business already has two other locations that are very close to water, at the Left Bank on the 3100 block of Walnut Street, and on Delaware Avenue, near the Ben Franklin Bridge. We’ve only been to the Delaware River location, and it seemed like a straightforward enough cafe/deli that gets a mix of locals and tourists. Looking at their website, it appears they do a healthy catering business, which should fit the bill nicely next door to an office building.
On the aforementioned Facebook thread, some neighbors were concerned that the cafe wasn’t planning to be open on the weekend. We’d think that the vast majority of business for this place will come from people that work in the building and some folks walking across the bridge for work during the week, so we actually think their plan to close on the weekends makes all kinds of sense. Then again, maybe they can give weekends a shot in the early going to see whether it’s the way to proceed or not. From what we understand, the cafe is expected to open in the next couple months, at which point they can start to figure out exactly how well they’re going to do on any given day of the week.
Update: According to a commenter, the cafe won’t be opening in the retail space on the bridge, but will be located inside the Roberts building, accessibly only through the lobby. At this time, no tenant has been announced for the retail space on the bridge.