Plenty Cafe at 1710 E. Passyunk Ave. was closed for most of the summer. While their sandwiches were missed on East Passyunk Avenue, they were closed for a good reason. Last Friday, Plenty reopened after a few months of renovations. Improvements have been made to the interior, along with new food and drink options for dinner and alcoholic beverages thanks to the cafe’s new liquor license. In 2012 the cafe added the larger coffee bar to the space, now it has been transformed into a different kind of bar. You are now able to grab drinks from a menu of 6 draft beers, 6 draft wines, along with numerous other bottled options for beer and wine. There’s a cocktail list, including drinks like the Korean Bloody Mary.
Plenty Cafe has reopened on East Passyunk after a several-months-long conversion into an all-day cafe with liquor license. The reimagined Plenty Cafe will still offer coffee, breakfast and lunch but will now also have table service after 4 p.m. The cafe will also have a marble bar with 6 draft beers, six draft wines (available by-the-glass or carafe) and a total of 17 wines available by-the-glass. And since it is an-all day cafe, the bar will also offer brunch drinks like their signature Korean Bloody Mary with kimchi, gochujang and daikon. There will also be a selection of classic aperitivi and digestivi from Europe. These vermouths, red bitters, gentians and cinchonas will be served traditionally and featured in Plenty Cafe’s six signature cocktails.
The opening draft list includes a solid lineup from around the world including Gaffel Kolsch, Allagash White and Young’s Double Chocolate Stout. The drafts are backed up by 30 beers available by bottle or can.
Happy hour has also rolled out on East Passyunk. Monday through Friday, from 5 to 7 p.m. the cafe is offering $3 canned-beer, $2 off all draft beer and draft wine, $2 off sangria plus a featured cocktail and food item. This week is the Sloe Your Roll (Hayman’s Sloe Gin, Pierre Ferrand Cognac, Egg White, lemon, brown sugar rim) and Spanish Meatball Slider with Romesco for $3.
Coffee isn’t getting short shrift in the new cafe. Square One provides exclusive blends to Plenty and cold brew is on tap. Espresso, pour overs and their new nitro cold coffee will highlight guest roasters that will change quarterly.
The café was completely remodeled to feature classic European café details. Details include hand painted signage and wallpaper on the rear wall featuring passport stamps and travel documents from around the world.
The food menu has also been enhanced with a Bites and Boards section that includes nibbles like marinated olives; smoked almonds with chili & sea salt; house cured charcuterie (pancetta tesa, duck prosciutto and country pate); kimchi deviled eggs with pork belly and a cheese board.
Additionally there is a Toasts section on the evening menu. All toasts will be served on High Street on Market’s Anadama bread and the praised restaurant is also making a spelt multi-grain specifically for Plenty Café sandwiches. The Evening Menu also offers grilled radicchio, roasted cauliflower, beet cured salmon, Tunisian chicken skewers and beef and chorizo meatballs plus much more.
A few months ago, brothers Anthony and Damon Mascieri closed the East Passyunk Ave. Plenty location for renovations. Next Friday, November 13, the café will reopen, this time under the “new model” they hope to expand to their other locations across the city.
“We wanted to create a fresh and new take on the large gran cafes in Europe where you are able to have excellent coffee and breakfast in the morning and then come back later for a glass of wine, beer or a cocktail and some delicious small plates. The idea is to offer inspired food and a full bar but make it casual and approachable to everyone.”
The new Plenty will have a full bar, including six draft beers, and wines galore — many of which that will be available on draft, with a 25 oz. carafe option to boot. In addition, the café will carry an extensive by-the-bottle beer selection. The premise of their bar program seems to be quite similar to that of their cafe — globally inspired, authentic and nuanced, with an ode to specific cultures and regions around the world.
The new menu includes a Bites & Boards section (think marinated olives, cheeses, house charcuterie, etc.), a Toasts section made with Alex Bois’s (High Street on Market) Anadama bread, and many other updated selections.
Liquor, beer, and wine will be offered at Plenty’s Rittenhouse location starting next week, but with a more limited menu. Stay tuned for menu updates and interior shots—and don’t forget to keep an eye out for the Queen Village location, construction is well on its way.
Best Highbrow Sandwich in Philadelphia
The Barcelona at Plenty Café Serrano ham, sweet Spanish chorizo and Mahón cheese is hardly an avant-garde combination, but Plenty marries them with immaculate arugula and a red pepper aioli on a crusty baguette, for a result as harmonically satisfying as Sketches of Spain on thick vinyl. Locations at 1602 Spruce Street and 1710 East Passyunk Avenue.
Plenty Cafe (Rittenhouse location: 1602 Spruce St., 215-560-8684; South Philadelphia location: 1710 E. Passyunk Ave., 267-909-8033; plentyphiladelphia.com): Plenty (which began with one cafe on East Passyunk, added a Rittenhouse location last year, and is building a new spot in Queen Village) serves excellent, globally inspired sandwiches with well-poured Rival Bros. coffee, plus a rotating list of prestige guest roasters like Portland’s Coava and Seattle’s Victrola. The tiny Rittenhouse location’s biggest draw, though, is its marvel of stylishly efficient design, with a cozy mezzanine loft that feels like a clubhouse for secluded caffeination.
There are sexier choices than chicken salad on the globally inspired sandwich menu at Plenty, one cafe serving thoughtfully handcrafted food alongside serious handcrafted coffee.
Among the more exotic options are the excellent “New Orleans” made with spicy house-smoked tasso ham with apples, fig jam, and Gruyère, or the Korean-inspired “Seoul” stuffed with bulgogi-seasoned short ribs.
But a good simple chicken salad is shockingly hard to find. And Plenty, which makes everything fresh at both its Rittenhouse and East Passyunk locations, nails this American classic.
Tender chunks of moist breast tossed in mayo with just the right perk of grain mustard and cider vinegar to balance the dried cranberries.
Served on whole-grain Metropolitan Bakery bread, it’s a reminder of how satisfying simple pleasures done right can be.
– Craig LaBan
Chicken salad sandwich, $9.75, Plenty Cafe, 1602 Spruce St., 215-560-8684; plentyphiladelphia.com
House-smoked Tasso ham, sliced green apples, fig jam and gruyre on a pressed demi-baguette? We tell ourselves the New Orleans is healthy because of the apples (and because Plenty takes such care in selecting ingredients), but it sure doesn’t taste like health food.
Plenty Cafe, which has locations in Center City and on East Passyunk is adding a third location, this one in Queen Village. Still a year away, brothers Anthony and Damon Mascieri are opening at 705-707 South 5th Street. This will be the biggest Plenty Cafe yet. The 1,500 square foot corner space sill anchor another venture of Damon, Fabric Lofts, eight bi-level apartments with 13-foot ceilings and a green roof deck.
In a city that has gone from fine-dining desert to a veritable foodie paradise in the space of a decade, building a gourmet café chain that captures the interest of the city is anything but easy.