The Trolley Car Café opens as a gateway to East Falls, and a haven for bike lovers
by Lee Stabert
Writing about the recently opened Trolley Car Café in East Falls was the best assignment ever—on a beautiful August morning I hopped on my bike and took a leisurely six-mile ride down the Kelly Drive recreation path to meet with owner and developer Ken Weinstein.
Situated just a stone’s throw from the Schuylkill, the beautifully refurbished building—which had a previous life as the bathhouse for a municipal swimming pool—has been completely redone, incorporating many impressive green features. “My guess is that the building would have collapsed in a few years if we hadn’t saved it,” explains Weinstein. Instead, it got a new roof, solar hot water heaters that satisfy 70 percent of the café’s water needs, passive solar lighting tubes and a flourishing kitchen garden.
The garden is adjacent to an inviting patio where diners can eye the river on one side and lush raised beds on the other—butterflies and bees hum among rows of fresh herbs, carrots, string beans, zucchini and 10 different varieties of tomatoes (acquired from Weaver’s Way Farm). The menu boasts a wide range of upscale comfort food, from fresh salads to sandwiches to dinner entrees. The Café also serves breakfast, ice cream and La Colombe coffee.
It was the East Falls Development Corporation that first approached Weinstein (owner of the Trolley Car Diner in Mt. Airy) about creating a “gateway to East Falls” at this site. The neighborhood has been incredibly supportive, and the café is perfectly placed between Philadelphia’s Northwest neighborhoods and Center City—a relatively short bike ride from both. Valley Forge Bike Rentals is also a tenant at Trolley Car, and on weekends they rent bikes and do quick repairs for cyclists from the recreation path.
“It’s a great date place,” suggests Weinstein. “It’s an opportunity to have a nice dinner and work it off at the same time.”
Trolley Café Café, 3269 S. Ferry Rd. (intersection of Ferry Rd. and Kelly Dr.), BYOB,
trolleycardiner.com, 7 a.m.-10 p.m. everyday