You’ve probably heard of a progressive dinner party, in which each course is served at a different neighbor’s house, but how about a progressive breakfast site visit? The Logan Hotel in Philadelphia cooked one up during a recent press trip hosted by the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau the week before the 2016 Democratic National Convention. The idea was to show our small group of reporters as much of the hotel as possible in a short amount of time, and feed us very well in the process. What do you know — it worked!
Elegantly stylish, The Logan calls itself “Philadelphia’s hotel.” With more than 1,800 pieces of original art from mostly local artists, the property uses its design and decor to tell the story of the man for whom it’s named, James Logan — a colonial-era statesmen who served as secretary to William Penn, mayor of Philadelphia, and chief justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, was a mentor to Benjamin Franklin, and was also the namesake inspiration for Philadelphia’s famous Logan Square, on which the hotel sits. Here’s how that story was told over five different breakfast courses:
1. AMUSE-BOUCHE The Logan’s library — where our breakfast tour began with cinnamon pancake sticks and bite-sized herb crepes with smoked salmon, creme fraiche garnish, and fresh dill — is a public room just off the lobby. Reflecting James Logan’s reputation as a bibliophile who owned more than 2,000 texts, the library is a relaxed space with not just books but a pool table, a fire place, and plush, comfortable seating.
2. YOGURT The 3,240-square-foot Stenton room is on the first floor, and flooded with light pouring in from windows that look onto Logan Square. As we enjoyed yogurt with hand-rolled granola and fresh fruit, we learned that the space is named for James Logan’s country estate (today located in the Germantown section of Philadelphia), and so features reclaimed Pennsylvania barn wood and long, farm-style tables made from reclaimed railroad ties.
3. COFFEE AND JUICE All of the food served at The Logan (“even the crackers,” according to one of our hosts) is made on site — in the big, open kitchen at Urban Farmer, the hotel’s “rural chic” restaurant. We were handed cold-pressed draft lattes, creamy and strong, upon entering the stylish eatery (see the gorgeous photo at the top of this article), then led into the back of the house, where we talked with sous chef Chuck Jones about The Logan’s handcrafted approach to F&B. Jones even took us into the butcher, where another chef was breaking down a steer and a pig that had arrived the day before, and then into the meat freezer, where house-made sausages, bacon, chops, and dry-aging steaks are carefully labeled, dated, and stored. On our way out of Urban Farmer, we stopped for glasses of tart, cold orange juice, squeezed fresh from a gleaming Zumex juicer.
4. OMELETTE The Logan offers 20 meeting and event spaces, from the 396-square-foot Montpelier Room to the 4,374-square-foot Ballroom. Somewhere in the middle is the 644-square-foot Monticello Room, our next stop. A chef was waiting for us behind a cooking station there, and dished up savory omelettes with foraged mushrooms, blue crab, bacon, cheese, and tomato compote. The Monticello was quite lovely — a trim, understated space — but that omelette. Boy, howdy. I’m including a photo because that chef’s handiwork needs to be recognized, even if only in thumbnail form.
5. PASTRIES The final stop on the tour was Assembly, The Logan’s chic rooftop lounge. As we munched fresh pastries, there was nothing to do on this bright summer day but take in the ninth-floor view of Logan Square and everything around it — the Franklin Institute, the Academy of Natural Sciences, the Free Library of Philadelphia, the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, and, a few blocks down the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, the Philadelphia Museum of Art. In about an hour and a half, we’d seen everything from the back of the kitchen to the highest spot in the property, and been treated to an amazing breakfast along the way. James Logan himself couldn’t have managed any better.