Updated Nov. 18

After more than six years in the market, New York City-based cafe company Joe Coffee is ending its Philadelphia presence.

Both the Rittenhouse and University City locations will close at the end of 2019, founder Jonathan Rubinstein confirmed to Billy Penn via emailed statement.

“We’ve spent many years trying to make these locations work, but unfortunately had to accept this fall that this was the best course of action,” Rubinstein said. “We want to thank all of our Philly family — employees, friends and dedicated fans — for what we have been able to create together.”

Watson acknowledged the strong cafe community in Philadelphia, calling it “a special place.”

The city’s independent coffee industry has continued to mature and diversify since Joe Coffee opened at 1845 Walnut St., across from Rittenhouse Square, in April 2013. It was the first branch to serve espresso drinks made from house-roasted beans.

Asked why he was taking his growing NYC company 90 miles south, Rubinstein at the time said, “Philly is known for being a great culinary city, and the coffee scene is excellent.” A second Joe Coffee location opened at 3200 Chestnut St. in September of that same year,

Since then, local outfits like Elixr, Ultimo and Saxbys have all doubled down by opening their own roasteries, and even Wawa got into the speciality coffee game.

Various other cafe operations have proliferated across the Philly street grid, and though some have closed (Plenty, Bodhi) — and sadly few stay open late — the city does not lack for places to hang out and work while sipping a cup of joe.

So Joe Coffee, which was founded in 2003 and now operates 17 New York outposts, is bowing out.

Said Rubinstein’s statement: “We feel so deeply embedded in, grateful to, and proud of the specialty coffee community of Philadelphia — one that has given us so much, and one we hope we were able to contribute to equally. We’re also proud of the Joe Coffee community and family we’ve built here.”

Danya Henninger is director and editor of Billy Penn at WHYY, where she oversees the team, all editorial decisions, and all revenue generation — including the membership program. She is a former food...