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Expanding into the Philadelphia market: http://philadelphia.foobooz.com/2013/02/07/dcs-medium-rare-opening-on-the-1600-block-of-sansom/
Website Here. DC Thread Here. Today went up to Fulton, an area we don't know well, to buy a turkey from a local farm to brine for the holiday tomorrow. Despite the subtitle of this topic, had no idea there was a second Sidamo there but discovered it in search of the Starbucks we assumed we'd find in the newer-construction retail complexes. No Starbucks and, much better, we were very excited to see Sidamo and then quickly wondered "what the hell would a second Sidamo be doing way the hell out here instead of closer-in MoCo, NoVa, other 'hood in DC, etc.?" The Post covered the story last year but hadn't seen that. The Ethiopian owner, Kenfe Belay, who owns Sidamo and runs it with his family including two daughters who work there, was inside to answer that question and several others. First off, the Fulton Sidamo has a very different feel from the one in the Atlas district. It's a much more gentrified design layout wise as a Starbucks or Caribou would be. It's spacious with plenty of comfortable seating inside and out and lots of windows allowing all kinds of light to come in. The menu feels a bit more extensive than in DC but I can't be sure about that. Wifi? Check. Plenty of baked good options? Check. Relative to the Atlas District location, Fulton is a different yet pleasant and comfortable buildout that still conveys serious coffee with the on-premise roaster and burlap sacs containing Ethiopian beans. In all other aspects though, this Sidamo and the one downtown share everything that one would hope. Kenfe was at the roaster when we went in so we chatted with him. He's a super person. So nice, patient and very happy to explain the product and roaster to anyone interested despite undoubtedly doing that a kazillion times over the years. He actually has a couple of small buckets of dark roasted beans right by the roaster that are two years old. When I asked about those, he explained those are for the children (and undoubtedly some adults like me ) to scoop, see and sniff. The Fulton store is close to where the family lives and that's why they opened up there. Evidently the store does pretty well which wasn't obvious to me not knowing Fulton's population density. Kenfe would like to expand more but, smartly, is taking his time so the business doesn't get ahead of him. Maybe another year for location #3. Maybe once he finds the right kind of investor. I made a bid for Cleveland Park, which sadly lacks a high-quality coffee place (no offense to Firehook) but clearly that would require the right kind of investor/partner. We enjoyed two fresh, medium-bodied, higher acid, Yirgacheffe pour overs. Interesting info on Ethiopian coffee here. Sidamo: good people. good coffee. deserving of all the business and good that comes to them. Totally reminded me of why the issues around chains versus independents that we've been batting around on the Applebees thread are so important. Happy Holidays to all.