From pressed juices to eight–course dinners, chef Khoran Horn has done it all. His newest venture is Guard House, a new Bridesburg café serving up a lively menu of sweet and savory breakfast, healthier comfort food, pastries, and coffee.
Horn started his career working in hospitality and sales before pivoting to his lifelong passion: food. The Philadelphia–raised restaurateur is known for creating unique, community–focused experiences like Stripp’d Juice, Philly’s first cold pressed juice company, and BLVCK, a culinary, design, and education collective.
As a chef and business owner, Horn wears a lot of hats. “Recently, the entire food industry is very short–staffed, so I’m navigating that as best I can. I’m very hands on in my business,” Horn says. “I’m a dish washer one day, I’m making an acai bowl the next, I’m cooking scones the day after that, and then I’m making our six–ounce cookie, or I’m on the tech side making our register work.”
When Horn was approached with an opportunity to create a restaurant in the Frankford Arsenal, a historic ammunition plant reimagined as a modern industrial hub, he jumped at the opportunity. Horn’s businesses have always had a local focus, and Guard House is no different. “I’m not going to do molecular gastronomy in Bridesburg. There’s no need for it,” Horn explains. “What do they need? They need good coffee.”
Located within the complex’s old guard house, the café is an homage to the Arsenal, Bridesburg, and Philadelphia at large. Inside, you’ll find vintage pictures of City Hall and a retro split flap sign made by Oat Foundry, an analog tech studio headquartered elsewhere in the Arsenal. Café and coffee shop by day, Guard House will also double as a space for Horn to host dinner pop–ups and events.
“I’m a connector and I’m a man of the people," Horn says. "That is one thing that’s huge for Guard House—we’re going to be doing a ton of collabs, bringing chefs in from across the country for a night or two or three or however long." Nok Suntaranon from Kalaya and Joe Beddia of Pizzeria Beddia are both slated to make an appearance in the coming months.
The next time you’re headed into the city, take SEPTA for a few more stops to visit Guard House in North Philly. Not sure what to get? Horn’s favorite item on the menu is the six–ounce cookie, but you can’t go wrong. The restaurant may have just opened this October, but it’s already shaping up to be a staple in the Bridesburg neighborhood and the Philly food scene.