In the sleepy residential neighborhood of Society Hill, there is an evident need for more neighborhood dining spots. Though options may be limited, locals can still find places that are quick, high–quality, and family–friendly. And now, the new Bloomsday Cafe manages to encapsulate all of those aspects, while also offering an amazing selection of natural wines, pastries, hot drinks, and more.
On a chilly Friday morning, we walked into Bloomsday. Even with the gloominess of gray skies and a light drizzle that day, the space still felt warm, bright, and homey. In every little corner of the restaurant was a pop of color, brightening up the otherwise calm and muted space. Whether the lively decor was a moss wall, plants, or plush seating, the ambiance did not disappoint.
Considering that Bloomsday is run by the same people behind Main Line favorite Green Engine Coffee Co. and that they use Rival Bros. Coffee, we started with some cappuccinos—one with oat milk and one with whole milk. Both were creamy and rich, with the perfect balance of milk and espresso.
And what’s a good cappuccino without a pastry to match? We chose the most attractive cinnamon brioche and chocolate croissants of the bunch and chowed down. The brioche was truly a beauty to behold. It was crispy on the outside while soft and buttery on the inside, each bite imbued with a kick of cinnamon sugar that made for a pastry experience that’ll rock your world. The chocolate croissant was equally delicious. In fact, the French photographer taking these pictures said that it even beat some Parisian pains au chocolat she’d had.
Pastries were just the lead–in to a really exceptional lunch. From their noon menu, we ordered the avocado toast, soba noodles, and Emotional Support Hot Dog, a truly eclectic trio that managed to go together exceedingly well. First up was the toast, initially ordered for a good photo–op, that ended up being so much more than just photogenic. Served on Philadelphia Bread Co. bread and topped with pickled onions, pumpkin seeds, sherry reduction, and edible flowers, this avocado toast changed my perception of what such a dish could be. From the crusty bread to the acidic pickled onions to the crunchy pumpkin seeds, the textures and flavors worked in perfect harmony, making this avocado toast anything but basic.
Next up was a massive bowl of soba noodles with duck, kimchi, a hard–boiled soy–marinated egg, sesame, fried shallots, and radish. Upon first taste, the noodles were incredibly gingery, and best accompanied by the other elements of the bowl rather than eaten alone. The saltiness from the egg, pickled snap peas, and tender duck balanced out the sharp zest of the noodles. Chock–full of peppery ginger and salty flavor, this dish’s flavors may not be for everyone, but it was definitely tasty.
Last but not least was the aptly named Emotional Support Hot Dog, which was a marvel to behold. Covered in purple strips of braised red cabbage, bright yellow turmeric sour cream, and sweet potato chips, this dog is a work of art. The pork sausage lives atop a sesame bun, with the starchiness of the bread balancing out the sausage’s succulence. The striking taste of turmeric also complements the dish, making for a quite varied mix of flavors.
By the end of our meal, the quiet yet lively space we walked into was bursting with people enjoying coffees and lunches together on a weekday. The servers and baristas took the rush in stride, still offering great service and smiles to everyone who walked in. Before we left I spoke briefly to the co–owners, Kelsey Bush and Zach Morris, ruminating on what this space used to be and about their vision for a neighborhood spot that can be enjoyed for generations rather than exclusively catering to what’s trendy.
All I could think about as I left was that the previous dusty and often–vacant establishment had been there for too long, taking up precious space that could have sooner been the wonder that is Bloomsday.
TL;DR: Go to Bloomsday for the cozy vibes, laid–back atmosphere, and scrumptious food.
Location: 414 S 2nd St, Philadelphia, PA 19147
Hours: Monday – Saturday: 8 a.m. – 3 p.m., 5 p.m. – 11 p.m. Sunday: 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.