Help me make fika a thing in Philly, please
About four years ago, a good friend of mine was living and working in Stockholm. I had the opportunity to visit her for a week, and one of her first travel tips was to embrace a very Swedish concept: fika.
Fika is possibly the greatest tradition Sweden has offered to the world. Fika, which can be both a noun and a verb, is basically a daily coffee and pastry break. According to my friend Sarah, fika is not optional. Even during the work day (and she was working at a major pharmaceutical company, not some laid-back startup), she and her colleagues would take one or two short breaks to drink a cup of coffee and have a snack (typically some type of sweet pastry). This is a custom America needs to adopt ASAP.
Help me start the America fika revolution. Below are some of my favorite coffee shops in Philly that are perfect for grabbing a quick coffee and pastry. Fika away!
Steap and Grind
1619 Frankford Ave
You can absolutely get a cup of coffee, but you should really come for the tea - Steap and Grind has a TON of loose leaf tea choices, as well as some decadent pastry offerings. Also, I think they have some of the nicest baristas in Philly.
147 N 3rd St
If you're a chai lover, make sure to put Cafe Ole on your list. They make a bunch of different varieties, including pumpkin spice and green tea. Their pastries are a bit more limited, but there's nothing wrong with relaxing with a cup of chai and a croissant in this cozy, colorful Old City cafe.
1523 E Susquehanna Ave
Do I come to Reanimator because I think they have an awesome logo? Admittedly yes; it warms my weird, goth little heart. But they're also a great little shop that caters to coffee snobs (like my boyfriend) and fans of Machine Shop Boulangerie (like me). Plus, I love its low-key, neighborhood feel.
One Shot Cafe
217 W George St
I've long been in love with One Shot's crazy specialty drinks (I've written about them before), but you shouldn't sleep on their pastries. They have a whole case of goodies, from sandwiches to donuts and assorted pastries, including vegan options. Take your food up to the library on the second floor, my favorite spot in the cafe.
Elixr Coffee Roasters
207 S Sydenham St
Elixr comes with some serious credentials: in 2018 they came in second in the US Barista Championship, and have a slew of other awards to their name. So you know they're good on the coffee front. On the pastry front, they too serve Machine Shop Boulangerie pastries, so basically they're just a solid option all around.
Cake Life Bake Shop
1306 Frankford Ave
So this is more for those of you with a sweet tooth, but who's to say you shouldn't eat a piece of cake in the middle of the day? Cake Life has all of the cakes, cookies and other desserts your fika-loving heart could want, as well as a full cafe (their rotating specialty drinks are always a good choice if you're feeling extra indulgent).
1335 Frankford Ave
Travel to La Colombe's massive flagship shop in Fishtown to get their best selection of pastries: breads, scones and all types of sweet treats. For the coffee component, live a little and treat yourself to one of their famous draft lattes.
40 S 17th St
I can't put together a fika list without including a cafe with Swedish roots. This New York-based chain has opened up a Philly location, and in true fika fashion you can find coffee drinks and a variety of pastries in this Scandinavian-inspired shop.
2400 Lombard St
Yet another shop where you can find Machine Shop Boulangerie pastries (that's almost a prerequisite for making this list). In addition, you can treat yourself to specialty toasts and whatever coffee or latte that your heart desires.
1528 Frankford Ave
If you want to see me get really overexcited, ask me about Suraya's pastries. I could write a sonnet about the rose and pistachio cruller. Their kouign-amann gives me a reason to wake up in the morning. And the Lebanese chai may be the most beautiful beverage I've ever had.