Tails will be wagging as White Dog Cafe University City celebrates 40 years on January 10, 2023. This University City institution has grown from its humble beginnings on the ground floor of a brownstone to adding four suburban locations with a fifth set to open in 2023.
At a time when so many restaurants are closing due to the ongoing impact of COVID, staffing difficulties, or the economy, the White Dog Cafe brand not only continues to thrive but is also growing.
Judy Wicks started the restaurant on the first floor of her house on Sansom Street, in 1983. What started as a muffin shop quickly grew into a renowned 200-seat restaurant that was among the first to feature farm-to-table local food.
The restaurant’s bohemian vibe and dog-themed décor became a fixture for the thousands of students, doctors, and professors who populate the University City neighborhood.
When Wicks sold the business to restaurateur Marty Grims in 2009, he renovated the space, and in 2017 White Dog Cafe University City unleashed its expansion into a neighboring brownstone, adding 82 seats and an expansive bar. Each of the White Dog Cafe locations is designed to feel as though you are dining in a home with each of the rooms exuding its own personality. The University City location features an eclectic mix of different dining rooms, a wine cellar, and lots of dog art and accessories throughout the space including the famous “Blue Dog” by George Rodrigue.
White Dog Cafe is a leader in using environmentally sustainable, organic, and local foods from farms within 50 miles. Known for warm hospitality, and inspiring and award-winning food, the menus are seasonal and change throughout the year. The majority of the ingredients are purchased from local farms, many of which have been providing goods for 40 years. As a pioneer of the farm-to-table movement, Wicks’ vision was about supporting communities and growing the local economy including farmers, cheese mongers, fishermen, brewers, artisans, and bakers. Over the years these partners have grown along with White Dog Cafe.
Grims opened a second White Dog Cafe location in Wayne in 2010, the third location in Haverford in 2015, the fourth location in Glen Mills in the Shoppes of Britton Lake in 2020 and he will open the fifth location in Chester Springs in 2023. Each of the White Dog Cafes are part of the fabric of the communities in which they operate as neighborhood restaurants.
White Dog Cafe University City located at 3420 Sansom Street will celebrate on January 10th with a complimentary glass of champagne or Leg Lifter Lager brewed by Stoudts Brewing Company (one of White Dog Cafe’s original partners) for each guest 21 and older that dines at the restaurant during dinner from 5 to 9 PM.
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