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Oat milk has become so popular that national brands sometimes struggle to keep up with demand. Starting this spring, Philly fans won’t have to worry about shortages anymore, thanks to a new creamery that’ll make the dairy alternative in house.
Kitchen’s Lane Creamery is a new herbivore/omnivore cafe specializing in oat milk. It will officially take over the Bodhi Coffee spot on Headhouse Square in late May.
“Bodhi had a great run,” said Bob Logue, who opened the petite coffee shop almost exactly 10 years ago with Tom Henneman. The duo would then partner with CookNSolo to launch Federal Donuts, the famous fried chicken and donut shops where Henneman now runs the show.
When Bodhi first opened, it was a pioneer of techniques like pourovers and cold brew in Philly. Now, Logue said, “third-wave cafes are everywhere. It was time for something new.”
Nationwide oat milk sales surged nearly 50 percent last year, according to the Financial Times. In a recent article on its growing popularity, Forbes suggested 2019 could be “the year of the oat.” Compared to other dairy alternatives, it’s relatively easy to make, via a process that’s more environmentally friendly — and consumers say it has better taste and texture, too.
Logue first began hearing oat milk requests from customers about a year ago. As he worked on a recipe, he got the brainstorm that it could serve as a focus for the cafe’s new direction.
Housemade from organic Pennsylvania oats, KLC’s smooth, creamy drink will be served by the glass, mixed in various flavors, and as the froth for lattes and cappuccinos. It’ll also be turned into dairy-free ice cream. Eventually, plans call for it to be bottled and sold at retail.
The rest of Kitchen’s Lane’s concise food menu will rotate around “just a handful of things, done really well,” including a signature breakfast and signature lunch. Each will be available in two versions: one for omnivores and another for plant-based diets — and the cooking stations will be completely separate to avoid cross-contamination.
Also on the docket is a weekly changing salad and smoothie based on ingredients from the Headhouse Farmers Market outside the cafe’s door, plus an assortment of celiac-friendly breads and pastries.
To help put the new project together, Logue called on industry veterans he came up with in Philly’s turn-of-the-millennium bartending scene.
He describes KLC’s four other partners as “people who’d be into it when I said, ‘Hey, we should make our own oat milk and build a restaurant around it!’” The players include:
- Greg Precht, former owner of Silk City
- Meghan Wright, co-owner of The Abbaye and founder of Philadelphia Brews Creamery
- Rich Fravel, the bartender-turned-realtor who helped find FedNuts’ first location
- Anthony DeMelas, a front-of-house pro who is has become an accomplished visual artist
“When Bob Logue comes up with an idea for a restaurant,” said Precht, “his track record invites you to say yes.”
DeMelas’ murals, which can also be seen at Fork, Panorama and Front Street Cafe, will grace the cafe’s interior walls. Along with rough-hewn wood tables, they’ll strengthen the cafe’s underlying theme of Fairmount Park.
Why Fairmount Park? It’s the source of the name. Kitchen’s Lane is one of the most picturesque entrances to the Wissahickon Creek, where there’s also a bridge named after it.
“Everyone loves the park,” said DeMelas. “Even though we’re not nearby, we want to help people learn about it.” Logue explained that many customers who come through Headhouse Square are tourists or visitors walking south from Old City, and most have never heard of Philly’s urban greenway, which is one of the largest in the nation.
The cobblestoned streets around the Headhouse Shambles, already home to Pizzeria Stella, Xochitl and Malbec Argentine Steakhouse, will also soon welcome Bloomsday Cafe, a coffee and natural wine bar.
Logue also owns Quaker City Coffee, a roastery that hires and trains formerly incarcerated Philadelphians. His target opening for Kitchen’s Lane Creamery, located at 410 S. 2nd St., is May 23.