Conversation, over a cinnamon roll and cup of coffee, is encouraged at the new Fox in the Snow Cafe in German Village.
The new restaurant, a follow up to the original in Italian Village, opened Jan. 6 at 210 Thurman Ave.
Known for its minimalist design, Fox in the Snow is designed to offer a mellow neighborhood vibe with a strong emphasis on fresh java and homemade baked goods, said Jeff Excell, who owns the cafes with his wife, Lauren Culley.
“We came across this building early on and we loved it,” Excell said of the location, which is part of a mixed-use development at the intersection of Thurman Avenue and Jaeger Street.
The couple looked at the revamped site, built about 100 years ago, in 2015 but it was out their price range and they were busy with the first cafe Excell said.
Yet, they still wanted a second location and within the vicinity of their Merion Village home. A new landlord had purchased the Thurman property and worked with Excell and Culley on opening the storefront.
Excell said they wanted the cafes to look similar but not identical.
“They definitely look-like cousins,” he said.
The 2,400-square-foot storefront has seating for 50 upstairs and a full kitchen in the basement, he said. The first-floor space has large picture windows, exposed brick, wooden tables and chairs and a high ceiling.
“It turned out better than I thought it would,” Culley said.
A marble-topped coffee bar sits in the middle of the space.
A glassed-in sandwich kitchen off to the side is where the staff makes the vaunted egg souffle sandwich.
On display is a ticket from Thurmania Theatre, one of building’s uses from decades ago.
One thing missing from the relaxed atmosphere is free Wi-Fi.
“I’m hoping the response isn’t negative,” Excell said. “We want to give people the opportunity to step away from all of that.
“If they don’t want to, that’s fine. We all have (smart) phones.”