BEVERAGE ARTISAN: Rival Bros. Coffee
“We know what kind of coffee sells in Philadelphia,” says Adams.
Rival Bros. partners Jonathan Adams and Damien Pileggi have been friends a long time. In high school, they played the same sport (soccer). In their 20s, they worked in the same business (restaurants—Adams was a chef, Pileggi worked front of the house). Today the pair runs the rapidly growing Rival Bros., a coffee- roasting company that started selling lattes and the like out of a truck back in 2011 but today has three inviting and busy cafés.
Pileggi focuses on the roasting side; Adams oversees the cafés. Together, they determine the flavors of their blends and brews, which skew a bit darker, bolder and more aromatic than those at some of the other thirdwave coffee shops around town.
“We know what kind of coffee sells in Philadelphia,” says Adams, who notes that we East Coasters tend to prefer good diner coffee or Starbucks to the lighter, fruitier, more acidic coffees that play well on the West Coast (though Rival Bros. offers these as options as well).
Coffee isn’t a locally grown product, of course, with beans shipped in from around the world. But there is an unmistakably Philly sensibility to Rival Bros., a local vibe that goes beyond its considered flavor profile.
“We like to open coffee shops in neighborhoods where people live,” says Adams. And many of their non-coffee supplies come from other local business. The pastries are from High Street on Market and from Machine Shop. The chocolate in Rival Bros. mochas comes from West Chester—based Éclat.
Adams and Pileggi have been enthusiastic about being part of the local food economy and community has been constant since they were selling those first paper cups of coffee to Drexel University students out of a truck. It will always be part of Rival Bros., they say, no matter how much more they grow.
2400 Lombard St.
1528 Spruce St.
1100 Tasker St.