Pros: good food, friendly service
Cons: not cheap (but better than Starbucks!)
When I started my new job, I had to find a new place to get my breakfast after getting off the train. As I was walking to the office, I came across Cosi, a small cafe and coffee shop near the corner 18th on Walnut. Cosi is a part of a chain (which at least locally was known as X and O), and have several restaurants in the area. I'd eaten there before, but more out of 'well, we're right here' than actively seeking them out. So, this time I was going in actively to see what they had to offer.
Cosi serves a limited breakfast menu, from muffins, pastries and scones to bagel sandwiches (omelet sandwiches with two toppings - $2.95) to compliment the vast selection of coffee and teas which range from $1.29 for a small (which they call "grande") to $4.29 for a grande caramel arctic mocha latte. So far, everything I've had has been great - their chocolate muffins are decadent, the bacon and mozzarella on an asiago bagel is fantastic, with real fresh mozzarella that is delicious. I don't drink coffee, but the hot cider was tasty, as was the green tea (althogh that was simply a Celestial Seasonings tea bag).
The other day, I actually went back to Cosi to get some lunch - and it too was tasty. They have a wide variety of sandwiches and salads (Cosi won Best of Philly for salads in 2005). I was surprised by the types of sandwiches being offered; not only can you get your typical sandwiches but you can get different styles like Tandori Chicken Sandwich ($6.39) or the Chicken T.B.M. ($6.49). The Tandori was delicious, with grilled chicken breast, roasted red peppers and a nice seasoning all toasted to perfection, although I'm not sure how Tandori it was. The Chicken TBM was also great, but I had this one untoasted. Full of chicken breast, tomatoes, basil & fresh mozzarella with Cosi vinaigrette, it was also a tasty (and healthy) lunch to take back to the office. My co-worked got the grilled version of the same thing, which comes with a sun-dried tomato spread instead of the vinagrette.
They also offer a number of other selections for all sorts of tastes, from Buffalo Blue ($6.59) to Tuscan Pesto chicken ($6.59) to Roasted Turkey and Brie ($6.29) and Hummus and Fresh Veggies (tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions and basil - $5.89). The sandwiches take a short while to prepare, especially if you have them toasted.
[ cosi - the SCENERY ]
The restaurant is pretty cozy, with comfy chairs scattered among the more more typical seating arrangements. A bar greets you upon entering (they can actually make drinks at night - I believe that most Cosi in the city have a liquor license). Further back is the counter for drinks and pre-made items, while sandwiches and such are found in the furthest back area.
The room is done in a mixture of dark, warm colors and brighter tones and it actually works with the style they went through. Art from local artists line one wall opposite of the counter, collections of work displayed in mini-galleries. It's a small but tasteful addition to the decor.
The service is always good here, too. From the cooks in the morning (it's hard to expect others to be happy before the normal man has had his coffee, but they manage) to the cashiers at all times, they've always greeted me with a smile.
[ finale ]
As a whole, I've had nothing but good things to say about Cosi - the food's good, the service is great, and it seems like a comfortable place to sit and eat (which I unfortunately never do). I've already signed up for their Cosi card, which can earn you free drinks and sandwiches just by buying the ones you are anyway. And I'm almost there to getting that free caramel vanilla double-large mochalatticinisinno ... or maybe, I'll just get a tea.
[ more INFORMATION ]
Cosi Sandwich Bar
1700 Market St.
Payment: cash, debit and credit cards accepted
Parking: available nearby, but you'll pay more than you'll pay for your lunch