To finish off the week of 13th Street Kitchen takeover we have this renowned breakfast and lunch spot, Cafe Lift. It was acutally the very first venture for Michael and Jeniphur Pasquauarello who opened the cafe in 2003 inside a refurbished factory along 13th street. The neighborhood had nothing to offer residents looking to eat out. Cafe Lift is actually named after the giant lift in the entrance of the restaurant, the owners wanted to embrace the industrial style of the building and neighborhood when designing the restaurant. Now crowds flock to this spot for BYOB brunch all day, Tuesday to Sunday.
Cafe Lift features a seasonal menu with ingredients sourced from local growers like Greensgrow Farms in Fishtown. Coffee is provided by Rival Bros. Some menu items are inspired by the Pasquarello family, like the Lemon Ricotta pancakes made from a family recipe. The special Hudson Cakes are named after the owner’s daughter, they are 3 savory cakes layered with scrambled eggs, spinach, and fontina cheese. If you like spice, then you’ve got to try the homemade Carter’s Fiery Hot Sauce, named after the owner’s son, bottled and available to purchase for $10.
Amongst the seasonal items, the Spring Frittata and Avocado Toast have been huge hits with customers. The Spring Frittata is made with peas, asparagus, smoked ham, basil pesto, & ricotta cheese. Avocado Toast has been taking over the brunch scene lately and is being served here on top of grilled Sourdough bread topped with housemade ramp butter, avocado, two over easy eggs, arugula & Piment d’Espelette. We’d definitely recommend it.
Traditional savory brunch goes will also enjoy the Breakfast Burrito with scrambled eggs, roasted peppers, mushrooms, sweet onions & chihuahua cheese rolled in a flour tortilla. Topped with pico de gallo, served with homemade hot sauce & sour cream. If you like Mexican influenced brunch items then we’d recommend the Huevos Rancheros on a toasted corn tortilla with refried beans, Mexican pork chorizo, roasted peppers, chihuahua cheese, two fried eggs, & pico de gallo.
If you’d rather something sweet then definitely check out the Lemon Ricotta Pancakes, Nutty Monkey Crespelle, or Cannoli French Toast. The Nutty Monkey Crespelle is like a giant Italian crepe, but a little bit thicker and filled with bananas & chocolate hazelnut spread, finished with homemade whipped cream. For even more of an indulgent treat the Cannoli French Toast is made with Challah bread dredged in a cinnamon vanilla custard, baked, then finished with bananas, chipped chocolate, pistachios & homemade ricotta cannoli filling.
If you prefer the lunch side of brunch then you should try one of Cafe Lift’s many sandwiches like Grilled chicken breast, roasted sweet peppers, onions, arugula, & sharp provolone or the Cubano with roasted pork, smoked ham, roasted red onions, fontina cheese, & whole grain mustard aioli. They even have a Vegan sandwich made with seasonal local veggies with a white bean herb spread on focaccia.
We loved the Signature Burger with double smash-style Kensington Quarters‘ grass-fed beef burger with caramelized onions, bacon, aioli & mild provolone cheese on a soft burger bun. Kensington Quarters is also a member of the 13th Street Kitchens family.
There are also salad options offered here for the more health minded brunch diners! Cafe Lift also proudly serves Rival Bros. Coffee. Their blends include Revolver (med-light roast, Whistle and Cuss (med-dark roast), and Palooka (med, roast).
So whether you’re in the mood for breakfast or lunch, stop by Cafe Lift Tuesday to Sunday. They start serving at 9 am and close 3-4pm. There are so reservations so be sure to expect a wait on the weekends, but if you are feeling ravenous don’t worry there is brunch served at Prohibition Taproom next door and Bufad‘s pizza is really great for any meal. No matter where you’re dining with 13th Street Kitchens its sure to be a memorable experience. Just don’t forget the cafe is BYOB and cash only!
We would like to thank Jennifer Bragan for the additional images and leading us on this incredible tour of 13th Street Kitchens.