The Cosmic Café is the only food place along Kelly Drive on Boathouse Row. Owner Peg Botto consciously creates a menu with produce from local farmers who use sustainable farming practices, she uses Bennett Composting to remove kitchen waste, chooses to only stock zero waste packaging, and Botto has always employed people with special needs through its Cosmic Foundation.
“When I first started out in my career I worked as a Qualified Intellectual Disabilities Professional,” said Botto. “So, it just made sense when I opened up the restaurant to continue that work at Cosmic Café.” Most staff start out as dishwashers and are then trained in other areas, such as assisting with the cleaning of the café’s location, Lloyd Hall, a recreation center, as well as cashiering, stocking, working as a barista, and baking.
Cosmic Café partners with an organization called SPIN that provides services for people of all ages with autism and intellectual disabilities. SPIN serves over 35,000 people every year in Southeastern PA and Lehigh Valley. In recent years, Botto has grown the café to add the Ciderhouse which features local beers and cocktails to draw in walkers or runners on the Boathouse Row trail.
“The Ciderhouse is another opportunity for us to connect with customers and have our customers meet our incredible staff,” said Botto. “It’s always a really positive experience for everyone and our staff have learned some real-life skills through working with us.”
Botto is looking to expand the Cosmic Foundation and open a health-conscious neighborhood establishment with upstairs apartments to teach not only marketable employment skills but also essential life skills to staff with special needs.
In April, Cosmic Café will open a new outdoor beer garden just by the Old Mill House along Kelly Drive. It will host local breweries and food trucks throughout the summer.
The Cosmic Café won a Brighter Futures Award which is given by the City of Philadelphia’s Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services. The awards celebrate individuals and organizations whose work has expanded the rights, visibility, and access for people with disAbilities.
If you like what I do, throw me a coffee or a stiff drink!
I’m a *REAL* person and your support means the world to me!
Food enthusiast. Travel lover. Social media maven.
Independent Journalist. Food marketing/PR expert.