In a Philadelphia neighborhood with limited dining options, Olde Kensington/Norris Square just got itself a beautiful new spot for coffee, bubble tea, and pastries, as Co-owners Michelle Miller and Molly Kiriacoulacos recently opened The Ground Coffee, Plants & Gifts at The Gotham at 2000 N. 2nd Street Suite C-1, located at the corner of West Norris and N. 2nd Streets. The Gotham is a state-of-the-art residential rental development built in 2020.
The Ground, which seats roughly 20 people between indoor and outdoor seating, features a multitude of homegrown plants and gifts inside its 650 square foot space which Miller designed herself. Miller, who also designed DAPR Grooming Parlour, Thrive Pilates and Yoga, and several residential projects, is a serial entrepreneur and design enthusiast who wanted to combine her passion for plants, crafts, and caffeine into this new business concept.
“Part of the magic of our space is how much effort and energy was put into it,” said Miller, who grew up in Seattle. “The level of effort shows the level of respect we have for this neighborhood. We wanted it to be a beautiful space that people are proud to come into, and that’s the energy we’ve been receiving from our multi-generational customers in our first days. I wanted to create a welcoming space with all of my favorite things, and it’s a dream come true to mix all of them into one place. Also, we are the first spot in the area offering bubble tea, so we are excited to be able to bring something new to the neighborhood.”
The Ground’s focus is on inclusive pricing, with coffee starting at $1.50, and plants starting at $2.50.
Kiriacoulacos, who became friends with Miller years ago, is a former business consultant and self-proclaimed “plant mama” who understands the transformative properties of plants. “They are just magical and can dramatically transform the vibe of any location, indoors or outdoors,” she said. “We want to bring the joy of house plants and greenery to everyone. We feel strongly about the important role in our quality of life, and are working to make them accessible to everyone in our neighborhood.”
The Ground features drip coffee and artisanal coffee drinks, various teas from Harney & Sons, bubble tea and other drinks which feature inspiration from Miller’s Korean lineage, and pastries (including beignets, croissants, Danishes, muffins, and more) from Au Fournil in Narberth, PA. Additionally, many of the plants in the cafe come from an expansive greenhouse that Miller built on her property in Mount Airy with the help of Kiriacoulacos. The two will continue this program with an inventory that features a mix of plants grown at home, as well as others sourced from local nurseries. Additionally, the partners compost coffee grinds for their own needs, as well as for the neighborhood.
As for the interior, seafoam tiles and floral wallpaper stretch to the 18-foot ceilings. A rescued beam holds up a massive 1,000 lb. solid brass chandelier, which the pair found on Facebook Marketplace and rescued from a home in South Jersey. A white and gray quartz countertop holds fruit crates for merchandise, and there’s a live edge bar top with coffee beans and succulents locked into the epoxy that holds it together. The space can also be reserved for private events, as well as options to book the courtyard or rooftop at The Gotham.
The Ground is open Tuesday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.