Philly doesn’t slack when it comes to coffee. There are literally hundreds of places offering opportunities to score your morning (or afternoon, or late night) caffeine fix.
But it turns out when compared to 10 other major U.S. cities, Philadelphia could use a bit more pep in its cafe step.
Though it sometimes feels like there’s a coffee shop on every block, Philly actually has the third-fewest per capita when stacked up against those other cities.
There are just under three coffee shops per every 10,000 Philly residents, per a study based on Yelp data by local discovery platform Hoodline.
While that’s more than Houston or Austin, and only slightly fewer than Chicago and NYC, we have a lot of java-slingers to attract if we want to catch up to DC, which has close to five per 10,000 residents, or Boston, which has seven. And don’t even think about getting near San Francisco or Seattle.
Another dig on our scene is the high percentage of chains (defined as having 12 or more locations worldwide). Of the 11 major U.S. cities in the study, Philly has the fourth-highest percentage of big-name brands, at 45 percent. That’s a lower share of chains than Boston, DC and Chicago, but more than everyone else.
However, one of our top three chains is actually locally born and bred: Saxbys.
No, Saxbys doesn’t come anywhere close to matching the biggest brand in the Philly market, Dunkin’ Donuts. There are an impressive 121 Dunkin’ outposts around the city. (The one with the highest Yelp rating, if you’re curious, is the Dunkin’ at 1425 Locust St.) Starbucks comes in at No. 2, with 42 locations.
The Dunkin’ dominance reverberates along much of the Eastern Seaboard, which makes sense, considering it was founded in Boston. But in Philly, its prevalence is especially notable. There are nearly 3 times as many Dunkin’ Donuts as Starbucks here, compared to twice as many Dunkin’s than Starbucks in Boston.
In fact, Philadelphia has the fewest number of Starbucks per resident than any of the other 10 major cities in the study. Whereas DC has about 1.5 ‘Bucks per 10,000 citizens and Boston has roughly one, Philadelphia only has 0.25 Starbucks per 10k people. Where Starbucks mostly shines is on the West Coast — after all, it has Seattle roots
Looking outside chains both mega and mini, Philly continues to experience a healthy proliferation of local coffee haunts — both Rival Bros and Elixr are about to expand with new locations, for example.
And there are even a few neighborhoods where you won’t find a Dunkin’ or a Starbucks no matter how hard you look. Based on Yelp business listings for “Coffee & Tea,” three Philly neighborhoods are entirely void of chains: Point Breeze, Brewerytown and Queen Village.