September 23, 2019
As of (checks watch) right now, the all-day cafe prequel to forthcoming Mexican restaurant Condesa is open in Rittenhouse, serving stone-ground tortilla breakfast tacos, horchata, almond and tamarind pastries, and freshly-milled chocolate.
El Café is the first of three ventures to open inside the Pod Philly Hotel, 31 S. 19th St., from chef Nick Kennedy and partners Al Lucas and Greg Root, of Defined Hospitality (Suraya, Pizzeria Beddia, and R&D Cocktail Bar). Condesa, the cafe's Mexico City-inspired mothership, is still slated to open before month's end.
As of its announcement at 7 a.m. Monday, the speciality coffee shop will be open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, with breakfast tacos starting at 8 a.m. that you'll have to grab before noon. The entrance is on 19th Street between Ludlow and Ranstead.
Pastry chefs James Matty (Suraya) and Michal Shelkowitz are heading up the cafe's bread and sweets counter. And whether we knew it or not, they've been teasing its opening all month, one concha at a time.
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The traditional Mexican sweet breads will come in vanilla, apple, almond and tamarind, guava, coconut, and cheese.
The menu has also got coffee from Stumptown, fresh-milled chocolate from Eclat, aguas frescas, and an array of taco choices served on stone-ground, heirloom blue tortillas, topped with egg, cheese and the fragrant Mexican herb hoja santa that we love just as much as cilantro. There's also the option to add chorizo and/or black beans. Breakfast tacos start at $4.50 a pop.
The last of the three restaurants will be a taqueria on the hotel's year-round rooftop beneath a retractable glass roof.