Philadelphia just got a major revamp with the opening of the Comcast Technology Center, which will soon be the home to the new Four Seasons Hotel. But that's not all—the Comcast building is also home to Vernick Coffee Bar, and soon to be home of Vernick Fish.
The original Vernick is located on 20th and Walnut and is known for their creative take on New American food. However, Chef Greg Vernick was approached by the Four Seasons hotel in order to partner and open up both the Coffee Bar and the fish restaurant.
Vernick Coffee Bar supervisor Andrew Kaufman explains that people were surprised when Greg decided to open up a coffee bar because it's a tangent from his casual fine–dining restaurant. "He loves coffee, loves sandwiches, is very into things like diners—that good comfort food. So that was part of what drew him to [this]—being able to provide that high level of quality and product and at the same time, making it a little more casual to fill the void of a breakfast and lunch restaurant,” he says.
While Vernick Coffee Bar's prices and ambiance are quite different from its sibling restaurant, by no means are its quality or service lacking. Since its opening, people have raved about it nonstop, telling me I had to go and try this restaurant. Its modern–chic building, with its open floor plan and white and silver colors, is balanced out by a homey feeling brought by the wooden furniture and the books and plants scattered around. The cafe also features beautiful art, including an indoor tree garden called the Winter Garden, a sculpture called "Exploded Paradigm," and lines of scrolling literature projected onto the ceiling. There will also be other elements of the building that will soon be revealed to the public, but for now they are keeping the details private.
But the most important part is the food. I ventured down to this coffee shop early in the morning, and was welcomed by a huge selection of pastries, juices, and coffee options. I was extremely overwhelmed and asked the incredibly friendly and helpful staff for some recommendations. They recommended a few of their favorites: the pretzels, biscuit, kouign–amaan pastry, salted caramel cookies, and the carrot cake pie.
The pretzels were salty, soft, and extremely buttery—paired with the spicy mustard, this is definitely an incredible savory option. The next thing we enjoyed was a crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside biscuit, which we paired with melted butter and their unique grapefruit jelly. The kouign–amaan pastry, a croissant dough baked into muffin form, had flavors of strawberry and passionfruit underneath the coating of crispy sugar. We also enjoyed the salted caramel cookies, which were crunchier than I prefer but still amazingly sweet.
However, the pastry that stole the show was the carrot cake pie. This pie had a crunchy, almost graham–cracker–like shell, but was filled with moist, sweet carrot cake and topped with decadent cream cheese frosting. I could have easily eaten an entire pie, even after eating all the other pastries we enjoyed.
Kaufman says, “All of the daily bakery items are baked fresh every single day. Juices are done fresh everyday, and we only outsource on a couple of things. But for sandwich bread, we use local companies, like Lost Bread [and others].”
Their drinks are also incredible. Their simple iced coffee was thick and strong and paired perfectly with all the sugar–filled pastries. Afterwards, I tried their most creative and unique drink—a Butterfly Pea Flower Matcha. This drink tastes like a normal matcha latte with its strong taste of green tea paired with milk, but combined with the floral undertones of jasmine tea. However, the butterfly pea flowers tint the entire drink's color into a beautiful deep blue.
After experiencing the unique pastries, the strong and delicious coffee, and the incredible waitstaff, I truly cannot wait to go back and try everything else I didn’t get a chance to try, including their full breakfast and lunch service. So if you’re looking for a place to carb–load on delicious pastries and caffeinate on really delicious coffee, be sure to check out this new place.