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Mark Basile is sharing his love of Parisian bread with Philly residents. Photo: Facebook/Kettle Black.
Mark Basile is sharing his love of Parisian bread with Philly residents. Photo: Facebook/Kettle Black.

How The Kettle Black Cafe’s roots stretch from Philly to France for owner Marc Basile

The Northern Liberties coffee shop is hoping to expand to a bigger space upon its reopening from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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There is a local coffee shop that offers authentic Parisian baguettes in Northern Liberties called The Kettle Black. 

The story of how the business came to be is just as unique.

The year was 2012 and Marc Basile had enough of his I.T desk job. He wanted to start his own business.

“I wanted a career change,” said Basile, co-owner of The Kettle Black.

He wanted to reconnect with the baking that was instilled in him as a kid living near Paris, France.

 

With the support of his wife Claire, who is an avid lover of coffee, both decided to combine their two passions and create a coffeehouse that focused on local coffee and homemade Parisian bread.

“It was a lot of work, we had to get paperwork going and different kinds of permits,” said Basile.

But it was all worth it and in 2017, he and his wife successfully opened the coffee shop.

Many residents were on the market for a new coffee house and Basile was pleased with the welcoming customers that stopped by every day. 

Things went smooth until the COVID-19 pandemic closed all non-essential businesses in March 2020. 

“COVID-19 definitely slowed us down a bit, but we’re surviving,” said Basile.

The coffeehouse that once had a staff of 10, now only has three — Basile, his wife, and another full-time employee.

It has also taken more time to reopen to the public.

“We are not open inside for the moment, everything is ordered ahead,” he said.

The Kettle Black also has a pick-up window so locals can quickly pick up their coffee and bread without a hassle.

“We are waiting until the government fully says we can be 100% open,” he said.

As Philadelphia continues to vaccinate, it seems as though reopening small businesses completely will be coming in the near future. 

The Kettle Black is no different, and expansions are in order.

“Once we get the ‘ok’ that we can open fully, we will add a lot more to our menu,” said Basile.

In the meantime, you can dig into the buttery and flaky homemade croissants that Basile makes daily from scratch. 

“We also make a lot of homemade sourdough baguettes, and focaccia bread,” he said.

Many locals also swear by their black everything bagels with jalapeño cream cheese.

Along with various varieties of pastry options, Basile also has options for customers that are vegan.

“I mostly eat vegan, so I wanted to share some options for people who have been providing me with food for so long,” said Basile.

They also carry a local coffee brand called Peddler, which is located near the Art Museum. 

Despite the shutdown, the future is bright for these small business owners.

“In the future, once everything clears up, we want to hopefully move to a bigger space,” he said.

In the meantime, for your next get-together, stop by The Kettle Black in Northern Liberties and get some fresh baguettes to pair with coffee or whatever you’re drinking.

 

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