For this week’s nightcap interview we pulled up a barstool with Jonathan Myerow. He’s the founder and beer guy for Tria Taproom located in Philadelphia’s Rittenhouse Square. He’s also the man behind Tria Cafe Rittenhouse and Tria Cafe Wash West – so join us for a pint as we chat with Jon and discuss what it’s like owning three successful spots in the city that brought you Rocky.
NightOwl: What came first, the chicken or the egg? (Tria Taproom, Tria Cafe Rittenhouse and Tria Cafe Wash West)
Jon: Tria Cafe Rittenhouse is the Original Recipe Tria, which started in 2004. Tria Cafe Wash West is the same concept in a different neighborhood. Both are Euro-inspired wine bars with a good beer and cheese emphasis. The Taproom opened in 2013.
NightOwl: What was your reason for expanding beyond the first spot?
Jon: Restaurants are like potato chips – almost impossible to stop at just one. I think that businesses have a natural need to grow. Growth certainly has kept things challenging.
NightOwl: At Tria Taproom, you take tap room literally, with not a bottle in sight. What was the reason behind that?
Jon: Kegs are better for the environment. And the growth first in draft wine and now in draft cocktails is really exciting. We wanted to do a clean, streamlined place that just focused on this.
NightOwl: You offer nearly two dozen draft beers, a dozen draft wines, four draft cocktails, two draft ciders, and a draft kombucha. How do you choose each “lovingly selected keg?”
Jon: It’s a process imbued with over 40 years combined experience between me and Michael McCaulley, my partner who handles wine. We focus on certain importers, breweries, and winemakers, and try to maintain a good balance between local, USA, and import, and between legacy and upstarts. There’s a lot of amazing new producers out there, but the classics are always in style.
NightOwl: How often does someone walk in and say, can I get a shot of whatever? What’s your response?
Jon: Locals know by now that Tria just doesn’t do that. We’re always polite of course, and try to win over guests who expect a typical beverage selection. We are aware that this is different.
NightOwl: What’s one cocktail you’d like to serve on tap, but haven’t figured out how to make it work?
Jon: Mimosas for brunch. We’re going to cheat and use canned Prosecco.
NightOwl: What’s the best thing on the food menu?
Jon: The Kennett Square Flatbread – it’s very craveable. But the burger, fries and wings are excellent renditions of those time-tested items.
NightOwl: What if a distributor offered you a case of “whale” beers?
Jon: I’d sell them at the Cafes (which have bottles) or drink them with my friends!
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