Founder Judy Wicks Honors a Miraculous Pooch in this Unique, Cozy, and Socially Aware Restaurant.
Judy Wicks is a Philadelphia-based entrepreneur and the owner of the wildly successful White Dog Cafй. A cozy, eclectically styled restaurant located in the University City section of town, the cafй is a testament to Wicks’ perfectly balanced combination of shrewd business skills and social activism. Initially a coffee and muffin shop run out of Wicks’ home, the White Dog Cafй has expanded to include full menus that showcase dishes made with fresh, organic ingredients from local farms and blended in contemporary American recipes. In addition to offering great cuisine, the cafй is Wicks’ base from which she lobbies social, economic, and environmental issues. The cafй is the first restaurant in Philadelphia to employ electricity generated by wind power. Not to mention, the atmosphere is very inviting. Customers can bask in comfy ambiance, that fittingly reflects the rich flavor of its food. The dйcor is classic American with highlights of cultural flair influenced by Southeast Asian and Native American craft, never forgetting the cafй’s principal inspiration: the white dog.
The myth of the white dog originated with Madame Blavatsky, the original tenant of the brownstone where the White Dog Cafй is housed. An eccentric, late 19th century writer, Blavatsky suddenly fell ill with an infected leg. Due to her spiritual faith, she refused medication, and doctors and surgeons recommended amputation. Instead of heeding their advice, she relied on the love and care of her white dog, who slept lying across her leg each night. Miraculously, her leg ultimately healed, and many believed it was the result of her beloved pet’s nurturing.
Wicks created an entire enterprise inspired by this amazing canine. The white dog is honored by the interior dйcor of the cafй, which has adopted the dog’s image as a motif, revealed in quirky yet tasteful dog-inspired objects placed throughout the venue. Dog-shaped vases representing a myriad of breeds are filled with fresh flowers and placed atop each table daily. Lamps adorned with dog depictions cast light throughout the cozy interior, and there is even a wall covered with photographs of people with their dogs, including snapshots of Wicks’ loved ones, White Dog customers, and historical figures like Eleanor Roosevelt.
In addition to the delectable treats available at the cafй, a host of White Dog paraphernalia is available at Judy’s Black Cat Store, located adjacent to the cafй in a similar Victorian brownstone. The store also sells folksy home furnishings, crafts, jewelry, and toys, which are all primarily made by local artisans. In keeping with Wicks’ environmental and social concerns, much of the merchandise carried is made of recycled materials, and all international pieces are fair trade.
An animal lover for as long as she can remember, Wicks is utterly devoted to animal causes, rescuing her own pets and actively contributing to animal charities and organizations. A percentage of the cafй’s profit goes to animal charities, while Wicks often hosts guest speakers, such as Michael Fox of the Humane Society and author John Katz, all in an effort to raise awareness of animal issues. At the end of the day, Wicks relaxes with her golden mutt, Alice, who she adopted from a shelter five years ago and her two cats, Good Cat and Bad Cat, who she rescued from an abandoned building.
To experience the White Dog Cafй’s excellent cuisine or to participate in charities and events, such as Breakfast Talks, the International Sister Restaurant Program, and educational tour groups, contact Judy Wicks.
The White Dog Cafй
3420 Sansom Street
For more information contact: 215.386.9224 ext. 101
By Jessica Almon