Philadelphia’s newest vegan cafe/bakery opened recently in a building that had previously sat empty and blighted for a number of years. Perhaps you remember, we told you about a year and a half ago that Batter & Crumbs Cafe would be opening at 1401 Reed St., marking the end of a lengthy and successful renovation to this property. Needless to say, there was considerable work to be done on the exterior of the building. And while we don’t have any interior shots from before the renovation, we can say with a high degree of confidence that the inside also looks better today than it did a couple years back.

In the past
Current view
Interior view, from their Facebook page

We’re thrilled to see this new business open at this location, and it will definitely have certain advantages moving forward. First, and perhaps most importantly, this is not a standalone operation, as the owners already have an existing wholesale baking operation. Second, the vegan niche is a growing one in Philadelphia, and people seeking vegan treats will travel, so this won’t simply be a neighborhood business. That’s a good thing, because its location presents something of a challenge.

Parking lot to the east
Carwash to the south
Commercial buildings to the southwest

Though the building’s address is 1401 Reed St., it’s actually located at the corner of Carlisle & Reed, half a block off Broad Street. To the east, separating the building from Broad Street, is a large surface parking lot associated with the Baldi funeral home. Perhaps someday this parking lot will get redeveloped, but we don’t think that will happen any time soon since the aforementioned funeral home has been operating for almost a century. And even if the property did change hands, its single-family zoning would represent a sizable barrier to redevelopment. The car wash on the southwest corner of Broad & Reed has a much shorter history, so perhaps it could sell at some point and get replaced by a mixed-use building. At least that property is zoned CMX-2, which is closer to allowing a decent project there by-right.

On the southwest corner of Carlisle & Reed is a rehab center from CATCH. Though the building is pretty uninspired, we don’t imagine CATCH will be moving out of this space any time soon given their strong presence in the neighborhood and the fact that they own the property. One building that’s sure to change sometime soon is 1408 Reed St., a 3,000 sqft single-story building that was home to an auto body shop until quite recently. This building sold for a whopping $700K earlier this year, which sounds too expensive for another auto body shop. There are no permits for the property just yet, so stay tuned for news of what will eventually happen here.