PHILADELPHIA - Tails will be wagging as White Dog Cafe University City celebrates 40 years on January 10, 2023. The University City institution has grown from its humble beginnings on the ground floor of a brownstone to adding four suburban locations, with a fifth set to open in 2023.
At a time when so many restaurants are closing due to the ongoing impact of COVID, staffing difficulties, or the economy, the White Dog Cafe brand not only continues to thrive but is also growing.
Judy Wicks started the restaurant on the first floor of her house on Sansom Street in 1983. What started as a muffin shop quickly became a renowned 200-seat restaurant among the first to feature farm-to-table local food.
The restaurant’s bohemian vibe and dog-themed décor became a fixture for the thousands of students, doctors, and professors who populate the University City neighborhood.
When Wicks sold the business to restaurateur Marty Grims in 2009, he renovated the space, and in 2017 White Dog Cafe University City unleashed its expansion into a neighboring brownstone, adding 82 seats and an expansive bar. Each of the White Dog Cafe locations is designed to feel like you are dining in a home, with each room exuding its personality. The University City location features an eclectic mix of dining rooms, a wine cellar, and lots of dog art and accessories throughout the space, including the famous “Blue Dog” by George Rodrigue.