The little eatery with a big heart — it gave 100% of its profits to Broad Street Ministry to support the nonprofit’s services to people experiencing homelessness — announced today that it is closing this week
“It is with sadness that we write to inform you that our restaurant The Rooster will close, effective June 8th,” wrote partners Michael Solomonov and Steve Cook in a letter, an excerpt of which was published in the Philly Voice.
When Generocity last wrote about the luncheonette — which was originally called the Rooster Soup Company — in early 2018, Cook told editor Julie Zeglen that the first year of operation had been a challenging one. July and August were especially harsh for a business with “soup” in its name, he told her.
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Things seemingly got worse than challenging.
“For well over a year we have been funding losses out of pocket in an effort to buy time for The Rooster to find its footing. For a restaurant whose fundamental premise is to generate funds for our non-profit partner, this has become an untenable and counterproductive situation,” Cook and Solomonov wrote in their letter.
It couldn’t have had a more auspicious beginning.
“Rooster Soup Company [was] the brainchild of Steve Cook and his partners at Federal Donuts, who knew that using whole chickens would improve the quality of their product, but also present a waste challenge,” wrote Generocity’s Erin Kane, in 2014.
“After toying with different ideas for nearly a year, Cook, who serves on the hospitality advisory board at Broad Street Ministry, approached the organization with plans for a jointly owned venture.”
The partners raised almost $180,000 by crowdfunding in 2014, then in Sept. 2015 announced the restaurant’s location at 1526 Sansom St. By the time it opened in early 2017, it already had a following. Even Gov. Tom Wolfe stopped in for Matzo ball soup.
The closure of The Rooster is part of a trend of closures of eateries that served social good along with food. In April of this year, Rosa’s Fresh Pizza — where each slice purchased funded a free slice for a person experiencing homelessness — closed its flagship shop at 11th and Market streets after six years in operation. West Philly’s EAT Café, Philly’s first pay-what-you-can restaurant, also closed this April.
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