West Philly native Mahari Bailey sees his new coffee shop on 52nd Street as a symbol of sorts. Rue 52 (503 S. 52nd, near the southwest corner of Malcolm X Park) has all the requisite quirks of a trendy urban hangout – great coffee and eats, local art on the walls, free WIFI and an owner who likes to hangout there and prefers t-shirts to ties.
Rue 52, which is officially a crêperie and espresso bar, is unlike just about any other business near it on 52nd Street, once the core of West Philly’s arts and culture scene. Bailey says people always want to know why he’s trying this on 52nd Street. But he sees Rue 52 as a small step in returning that grand street to its former glory.
“I wanted to start a business that would benefit the community and uplift the aesthetic,” said Bailey, who along with his wife also owns the nearby Weave Bar, a salon aimed at upwardly mobile women, (444 S. 52nd) and other properties along 52nd Street. “A coffee shop is a sign of revitalization.”
Rue 52 has been open for a couple of weeks, but its grand opening celebration is Friday and will include free coffee all day with a food purchase and family fun (face painting, a clown or two and, yes, pony rides) from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
So far Bailey has been amazed by the diversity of his clientele. “The people who walk through this door come from every ethnic group and every income level,” he said.
They are coming for some of that coffee shop vibe, but also for the extensive choices on Rue 52′s menu. So let’s get down to what this place offers.
Coffee options range from a solid cup of Joe for about $2 to a café mocha ($3.50) and chai latte ($2.75). They also offer bagels, smoothies and yogurt if you’re on the run. But if you are looking to stay a while, you might want to tuck into a crêpe or panini.
The crêpe menu is divided into simple, sweet and savory. Five bucks gets you a simple butter, cinnamon and powdered sugar. The sweet choices (all $7) include the “Ben Franklin,” a sweet concoction of strawberry, banana, nutella and powdered sugar. Others in the sweet category include the “Labelle,” which includes honey, banana, almonds and powdered sugar, and the “Fresh Prince” (apple, cinnamon, caramel and powdered sugar).
The savory menu (all $8) includes the “City Hall” (turkey, cheddar cheese, tomato and chipotle spread), “The Cosby” (cheese, grilled chicken, tomato and honey mustard) and “The Roots” (create your own). Other items include paninis (about $5) and salads.Café Rue 52
503 S. 52nd Street Crêperie + Espresso Bar Free WIFI: yes Kids-friendly: yes Hours:
|Mon – Thu:||6:30 am||-||6:00 pm|
|Fri:||6:30 am||-||7:00 pm|
|Sat:||7:30 am||-||7:00 pm|
|Sun:||8:00 am||-||4:00 pm|