Hugh Moretta and Eli Shaika are owners at Rowhome Coffee in Filter Square. Photo: Rowhome Coffee.
Hugh Moretta and Eli Shaika are owners at Rowhome Coffee in Fitler Square. Photo: Rowhome Coffee.

Rowhome Coffee in Fitler Square puts a new spin on breakfast sandwiches with a unique, Philly flair

Business partners Hugh Moretta and Eli Shaika didn’t want to be basic by only using New York-style bagels for their sandwiches.


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Rowhome Coffee has been the talk of the town in recent months due to their one-of-a-kind, pretzel breakfast sandwiches.

Hugh Moretta, the co-owner of Rowhome Coffee had always talked about going into the restaurant business with his partner, Eli Shaika but didn’t know what kind of restaurant business they were going to get into.

“I’ve been in the coffee business for over 10 years, I know a lot about coffee because I work at La Colombe,” Moretta told AL DÍA News in a recent interview.

They eventually decided to go into the same business, where Moretta can share his knowledge and love for the popular morning drink.

The high school friends decided to take the leap and open their own spot in December 2020, when many others in the industry were going out of business in the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We found this location and we were really excited about it, we decided to just do it, we didn’t want to pass up on the opportunity,” said Moretta.

Not long after opening, Moretta and Shaika wanted to add sandwiches to their coffee menu, but they weren’t thrilled about bagels.

“Bagels are a New York thing, we didn’t want to do that,” he said. 

Skipping on the New York staple, the pair decided on a Philly twist by using pretzels as sandwich bread.

“We cut the bagel in half and add fillings to it,” said Moretta.

Once Moretta he noticed the unique look of their sandwiches, he took to social media to share the magic they had created.

The pretzel format also took off within the business plan.

“Now we have everything pretzels with cream cheese, we do cinnamon sugar, and of course, our breakfast sandwiches,” he said.

On top of the sandwiches, they also do grilled cheeses on a pretzel. But breakfast still reigns supreme.

“Breakfast sandwiches are simple to-go food, so we’re happy that people gave our sandwiches a try,” he said. “We are very grateful.”

The pretzels are delivered from Federal Pretzels which have been around for over 100 years and come from South Jersey.

“Their pretzels are big and buttery, which actually makes the sandwich,” he said.

Locals usually go for the bacon, egg, and cheese sandwiches, but if you’re looking for something sweet in the morning, Rowhome offers a cinnamon sugar pretzel with cinnamon sugar cream cheese.

“We also have some lunch sandwiches, like our roast beef sandwich on a pretzel,” he said.

If you are gluten-free, the coffee shop also has you covered by using kaiser rolls as a healthier alternative.

For coffee, the options also plentiful.

“We have a bunch of baristas so we also make a lot of lattes, mochas, and other specialty coffee,” he said.

As a result of the pandemic, the coffee shop is not open inside just yet, but you can still show your support for Rowhome Coffee by placing your order online and picking it up at 2536 Pine St, Philadelphia, PA.


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