W/N W/N always seemed to be ahead of its time. It debuted on the corner of 10th and Spring Garden Streets in 2014 — crowdfunded into existence as a cooperatively owned coffee shop and bar in slow-developing Callowhill (a neighborhood nicknamed “Eraserhood” after David Lynch made its empty, post-industrial eeriness famous in his ’70s horror flick, Eraserhead). It was one of the city’s first all-day cafés way before all-day cafés were everywhere. It gave Detroit-style pizza a home in Philly way before Detroit-style pizza was everywhere (Pizza Gutt is opening a shop in Kensington, by the way). It was a hybrid coffee bar way before hybrid coffee bars were everywhere. Former co-owner Michael Dunican says that while the ownership structure never changed from the bar’s inception, “the only lasting truth is Change. It was time for a change.”
Word of the sale spread through the rumor mill for a few months before its eventual sale on April 10th to Nikisha Bailey and Matthew Nam.
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Bailey, who is making her first entrance into the hospitality industry from the music industry, says that she and Nam — friends for over a decade before partnering in the business — have a deep and shared love of food and drink. “We’ve always wanted to own our own place,” she says. When they heard the business was for sale, they pounced on the opportunity.
They don’t plan to change much about W/N W/N. They’re keeping the name. They’ll bring back morning coffee service (led by their director of operations and “coffee wizard,” Morgan Russell, who ended up at the helm of the bar serendipitously after first being introduced to W/N W/N in a shared Lyft ride after moving to Philly, and then months later, learning about its sale through Queer Exchange, an LGBTQIA+ Facebook group). They’ll keep the bar open late, they’re planning to host intimate concerts and DJ sets on weekends. They’ll touch up the interior a bit, and add a comfort food menu (think: nice burgers and local chicken sandwiches) by chef Damon Daye. Cocktails will still be the bar’s focus.
The co-op model has been nixed, obviously, but they’re instituting a profit-sharing compensation model for the staff — meaning a standard tipped wage plus a percentage of the company’s profits.
The plan is to reopen by the second weekend in May. We’ll give you a heads up closer to opening day.
Source URL: https://www.phillymag.com/foobooz/2019/04/23/win-win-coffee-bar-closes-new-owners-callowhill-philadelphia/
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