Many Cups of Contentment

By Joseph Myers

On January 20, Black n Brew, 1523 East Passyunk Ave., celebrated 12 years of serving up breakfast, lunch, and coffee — with a side of charitable giving. Owner Colleen DeCesare spoke with us about some changes she’s cooking up – and the benefits of giving back to the shop’s South Philly community.

“I absolutely love being here,” the 37-year-old proprietor said from her thriving business. “The neighborhood has undergone great changes during the time that we’ve been here, so it’s as if we’ve grown up together.”

The “we” of Black & Brew includes DeCesare, her wife of eight years, Jennifer, and a staff of six. “We try to roll with the times…to be innovative with what we sell and what we might sell,” DeCesare said. She noted the recent introduction of a breakfast sandwich redemption card as a perk to regular customers. The eatery may also soon peddle cannabidiol-infused smoothies.

“Aside from our menu adjustments, we’ll continue to concern ourselves with how we can help others who are in need.” DeCesare added, “we want that deeper tie to where we work.” One such tie is local resident Steve Sacavitch and his Positivity and Peace project. The Black & Brew crew recently assisted Sacavitch’s mission by preparing 100 meals for Aid for Friends, a 45-year-old organization that offers “food and friendship to the homebound.”

Steve Sacavitch, Colleen DeCesare, and Black n Brew staff after preparing 100 meals for Aid for Friends.

DeCesare plans to expand the shop’s community-based integration through a budding partnership with Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens.

“Everyone in this neighborhood plays such a big role in inspiring me to want to jump in and contribute far beyond my role as someone who makes and serves items here,” DeCesare said. “When I become, or anyone else becomes, involved in something outside of our own world, I think that makes for a stronger South Philly. Who doesn’t want that?”


Black n Brew
1523 East Passyunk Ave.
(267) 639-6070
Hours: Monday to Sunday, 7am – 5pm