I was overjoyed to find this charming new coffee shop had opened in the historical Outbound Station, a former antique store. Wait, I’m sorry, new? Not exactly, as they opened last spring, but new to me, and apparently, according to several people I chatted with on twitter this week, new to them also!
The location is obscure. Situated at the base of the Conshohocken bridge, and set down off of Elm Street, it is hidden from view of the traffic that urgently rushes to make it across the bridge in under 20 minutes during rush hour. Yet, it is the perfect location for commuters, local business people and residents because it is in the thick of things, yet off of Fayette Street. The problem is that no one knows it is there, most likely because it was a store, not a restaurant for as long as I can remember; possibly 30 years?
In a town that has exploded with fantastic restaurants in the past few years, there has been nowhere to get a great breakfast or cup of coffee. (Excluding the coffee chain on “The Ridge” and a horrible diner, which, as you know, I will not name.) We live in a world of coffee shops in every one horse town, yet this trendy borough, with nearly 8500 residents of an average age of 35, and thousands of business people commuting here daily, had no real coffee shop? It seems ridiculous!
The thing is that they are here now! Unfortunately for the owners Mary and Rick Shaffer, unless folks have heard about the wonderful cafe from someone, they either have no idea where it is, or think it is a train station or an antique store. Being a historical building, as well as, existing in a borough of strict zoning laws, there are probably (I am assuming) few ways to ever become visible as a cafe to bridge traffic, and yet it is the perfect location! The food and coffee are also outstanding and that is why, although no one knows they are there, there is always a constant stream of people wandering in and out! Once you discover this cafe, you come back again, and again.
The site has been completely renovated and is larger than one would expect from the outside, yet still warm and comfortable inside. They serve La Colombe coffee, which is seriously my all time favorite coffee. (We buy 10 lb bags of the beans from South Philly for home.) The Philadelphia based coffee company roasts their beans here, in the city of brotherly love. Of course, my $100 Cuisinart coffee maker doesn’t do justice to the beans the way The Outbound Station’s La Spaziale coffee maker does!
The coffee is only part of the reason The Outbound Station is so special. Any good restaurant takes on the personality of its owner. In this case, Mary Shaffer had a vision for providing a healthy alternative to the greasy breakfast and lunch alternatives in the area. She offers a veggie juice and smoothie bar made to order with fresh, healthy ingredients. Her breakfast sandwiches are made to order on thick, artisan, multi grain breads which are filled with traditional eggs and breakfast meats, or, as Mary prefers, eggs, spinach, tomato and cheese.
The cafe is open for breakfast and lunch seven days a week. In addition to traditional pastries, they offer a line of gluten-free products which sell out to the piece daily. For lunch, although all of the sandwiches are made fresh to order if you wish, they also have a case of grab and go, so commuters are able to come for coffee and a bagel in the morning and take their lunch back to the office with them, to eat later.
The outbound station is truly a commuters paradise. Located right on the train tracks and next to the majority of office buildings along the river, this coffee shop is an easy place to pick up coffee and breakfast for those coming or going across the bridge or hopping on or off the train. In the summertime, it is a bikers hang-out as it is also located just off of the bike trail that spans from Valley Forge to Center City.
And now, starting just this week, they deliver to locate office buildings.
If you are in the area, I highly recommend that you stop by!
2 Harry Street
Since I went on about how “hidden” it is, I will add these directions:
If you are coming across the bridge into Conshohocken, make an immediate right onto Elm and the 1st right onto Harry.
If you are driving through town toward the bridge, you make a left onto Elm (the last turn before crossing the bridge) and the 1st right onto Harry.