Things We Love: Hinge Café

If you’re a part of the growing number of queers and artists residing in the Port Richmond section of the city, then you’ve either dined at Hinge Café or know someone who has. If you’re unfamiliar: dearest reader, meet Hinge Café, a BYOB full-dining restaurant owned and operated by Chef T De Luca.

T De Luca with three-year-old daughter Cyan in the kitchen at Hinge.

Originally from the suburban outskirts of Philly, T De Luca and former partner M.L. Simone opened Hinge nine years ago as a coffee shop and deliberately chose Port Richmond (2652 E. Somerset St.) despite not being from there: “We felt the location embodied many of the great qualities that Philadelphia’s neighborhoods are known for. We began small with light breakfast, and after nearly nine years, have evolved into a full fledge BYOB restaurant,” she says.

The name stands for what De Luca hoped the restaurant would do: bring people together. “By practical definition, a hinge is a natural anatomical joint that brings two things together. Running with this, we felt the café would act as a hub in which good friends, good times and the arts could all connect,” she explains.

The arts are an important part of what Hinge stands for, and the walls are often adorned with diverse visual galleries, from still photography to abstract landscapes. The café accepts pieces and is proud to provide a space for Philadelphia artists to showcase their work.

Hinge began as a small brunch spot, and began serving dinner seven years ago at the suggestion of a customer. The dinner menu changes monthly, and Chef De Luca plays with flavors and ingredients from different regions and seasons in crafting new dishes.

The infamous “TBomb” dessert.

“While I pride myself on the ability to create dishes and menus that are both inspired and adventurous, our customer’s input is very important,” she says. “One of my devoted patrons from the beginning helped name my signature dessert the ‘T Bomb.’ After sampling the dessert (signature chocolate cake topped with layers of toasted buttery pecan crumble held together by hand-made caramel that’s crowned with mascarpone rum mousse coated in a rich gnoche shell), his only response was, ‘T, that was da bomb!’”

The café has an intimate dining atmosphere, but there is also party room that hosts up to 30 guests and is available for rent. On days when the room isn’t hosting a party, it becomes “The Listening Room,” and has been known to act as a studio for the Hinge Employee Band, “The Meat Beaters.”

Chef T De Luca is proud to be both part of the Philadelphia LGBT community and the BYOB culinary scene. “While I may be classified socially as a lesbian because I date women, my sexuality has no bearing on my restaurant,” she explains. “This operation isn’t about me, it’s about my customers. What matters most to me is my ability to provide a comfortable and friendly environment. We see families come in as same sex and more traditional pairings, and I’m proud to be a family-oriented establishment that caters to all creeds.”

One lucky reader has a chance to win a $20 gift card to Hinge Cafe! Simply leave a comment below this post telling us what YOU love about Hinge or why you’re looking forward to dining there, and you’ll be automatically entered to win!

To learn more about Hinge Café and/or view the brunch and dinner menu, visit

*For one additional entry, follow @Phillesbian on Twitter and leave an additional comment below noting you are following. Please make sure you have a valid email address associated with your username. Contest is open to all residents of the United States. Entries close on Sunday, March 24, 2013, at 3 p.m. Winner will be notified Monday, March  25, 2013.


  1. Dawn K Reade says:

    I had heard of Hinge but have never been there. I moved out of that area about 16 years ago but in the past year had reason to travel frequently to Philly. I look forward to trying new, quaint, and locally owned establishments where I go.

  2. Rae Pagliarulo says:

    I go to the Hinge at least twice a month! I moved to Port Richmond this summer, and it was a big adjustment from living in the-middle-of-everything Fairmount. I’ve been hitting up as many small area businesses as I can and the Hinge never, ever, ever disappoints. Their Salmon Benny, Breakfast Bruschetta, and Monte Cristo are just the absolute best. And unlike those trendy brunch spots in South Philly and NoLibs, no matter how busy these ladies are, I never wait more than half an hour for a table. If i could propose marriage to a business – this would be it!

  3. Lauren Langley says:

    The way that the whole staff make me feel like family. And how good the food is. And how it can feel casual or fancy. And…ahhh! Too many things to love!

  4. Marilyn Lubiejewski says:

    The Hinge has very good food at a reasonable price.The young waitress’s that work there are very friendly.And of coarse The 2 lady owners,come out from the kitchen and interact with there customers.There daughter is one lucky little girl to have T &ML in her life. I worked there years ago ,but the two guys lost it,so glad its run by the 2 ladies. Keep up the good work

  5. Corrine Weglicki says:

    I’ve been going to the Hinge for about 4 years now and I love everything about it! The staff are so nice and always accommodating. They are very family friendly. The food is amazing and so different from most of the local places basic dishes. Even though I always get the same dishes(eggs benedict or creamed chipped beef) my husband tries one of the specials every time we go and hasn’t had a bad one yet! I’ve been there for a few parties and even went there after my son’s christening and service and food was always excellent. I’ve reccomended the Hinge to many people and will continue to do so!

  6. Melis says:

    Hinge is my favorite local place for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The food is beyond delicious!

  7. Donna Kearney says:

    The place is awesome. Food is fabulous and the wait staff is the best. Love going there, especially since it’s a neighborhood place! Keep up the good work!

  8. Cyndi Perez says:

    LOVE Hinge. Best brunch in town . Great food and friendly staff. Always cool new art to look at too!

  9. Diane Dellavella says:

    Love having a wonderful restaurant in walking distance! The chicken parm soup is my husband’s fav! I’m partial to the actual chicken parm entree and the desserts! No need to go to center city or even northern libs with this in our backyard!

  10. Beth depa says:

    Had a great lunch there with my daughter. Great atmosphere, great service, and great food. Definitely worth the drive to eat there! Will be coming again in the very near future!

  11. Mark Scully-Smith says:

    Smart, provocative cuisine served in a laid back manner is a win-win combination. The food is well seasoned which shows attention to detail. The desserts almost beg you to take them home with you, and they are quite worthy of a night in bed! It truly is a neighborhood gem.

  12. Jeannine says:

    I went to The Hinge today after reading this article.
    The canoli french toast was as delicious as it sounds.
    There were four of us that went and everyone loved
    It. We will definitely be back. The prices were very reasonable,
    Which is also a plus!!

  13. Aimee says:

    I love the Hinge because it’s close to my house, child-friendly, and has the best French Toast EVER.

  14. Paul Starr says:

    Ate there the other day for the first time of what will be first of many trips…. I’m HUGE STEAK FAN!!!.. And must say the Guinness New York Strip… 5 of all time on my list!! And if you can leave room for dessert…the T-BOMB!!!! Just saying its the Bomb!!!

  15. Lara Stefanelli says:

    Always feel like family. Neighborhood spot that never disappoints

  16. Kimberly Toms says:

    I LOVE Hinge! I first started going there during the summer of 2012 after I went to a new place across the street (new to me, anyway), Shampoo Bar to have my hair done. I inquired about Hinge to my hairstylist Kelly who said it had amazing food.
    Since then, I’ve gone many times with family and friends and co-workers.
    The servers are always so helpful and knowledgeable and the scallops are the best I have ever eaten, hands down!!!!
    My only complaint is that they aren’t open EVERY night for dinner!!!

  17. Lisa Sessions says:

    I love the Hinge because the breakfast specials are amazing! We have been going to the Hinge for about 5 years and I have NEVER been disappointed in a meal that I have gotten. Sometimes we are at the Hinge 2 or 3 times a week. Lol They take pride in all the food they make either it be a simple scrambled egg or one of there fabulous breakfast specials or the scrumptious dinners. You will not be disappointed with the food or the staff. The staff is so nice and welcoming and really take care of you!

  18. Paula A Harvey says:

    I ate there almost a year ago. I was with a group of girls that I had gone to high school with. Although we graduated 44 yrs ago, we periodically try to get together and try different places. I was so happy that they had picked Hinge. I had never been there before. The food was fabulous and the service spectacular.My husband and I like to try different places and this will definitely be on my list.

  19. Jess Kroll says:

    My dear friend Shannon brought me to the Hinge for the first time for cookies with Santa! It was an amazing, fun, cozy time! We all loved the food and being able to have our kids see Santa in such a private setting was totally Rockin!! Loved every minute of it!! I live in willow grove, with a very busy lifestyle and havent been able to get back, but onces I get the chance, I WILL BE BACK!! Props to the owners, great job!!!!!

  20. Lillian says:

    The Hinge is my favorite place in Port Richmond. The food is always fantastic, and I love the guy who plays the piano sometimes.

  21. Jeanine Palinkas says:

    My 4 year old is STILL talking about the pancakes he enjoyed there about 3 months ago!! He can’t wait to go back 🙂

  22. Ann Marissa says:

    I LOVE THIS PLACE. Will be dining there tomorrow night! Staff is just as awesome as the food. YAY!

  23. Meg says:

    The Hinge is the place to go when you want a cozy, relaxed atmosphere and food that is out of this world. My vegetarian BFF and I had no trouble finding delicious meat-free options and the desserts are well worth saving room for!

  24. Denise Maccari says:

    I try to get there once a month for the menu changes. Also, went for New Year’s eve twice! Great food, great prices! Perfect place for a dinner for two or family get together. If you haven’t tried it make it a trip there you won’t be disappointed.

  25. Drew says:

    The Hinge is fantastic. Hands down the best brunch spot in Philly, across the board 10’s. If you’ve never been, Go, you won’t be disappointed.

  26. Charlotte S says:

    Have been to the Hinge numerous times. Have NEVER been disappointed. We had my daughters 30th birthday party upstairs and the service was excellent … We Pre selected a menu with a few entree choices and each one was delicious. All of the appetizers, the chicken Parmesan soup, seafood risotto, crab cakes, pierogi ‘s and delicious home made carrot cake and cheese cake (pumpkin) are just a few of my favorites! I am craving a visit soon so I can enjoy another great meal.

  27. Lu says:

    My niece worked at Hinge and introduced our family to it. We love it. My family held a surprise 50th birthday party in the upstairs room. The food, the service, and the eclectic atmosphere make Hinge Cafe a wonderful place. Check it out!

  28. Dianne says:

    Hinge is my favorite restaurant. The food is fantastic and the staff is great. The atmosphere is relaxed and comfortable. The desserts are the best. Hinge is awesome!

  29. terry z says:

    Hinge is the best had my sons rehearsal dinner here breakfast with santa was awesome there is no place like hinge

  30. Donna ODonnell says:

    this place always feels like HOME…..:)

  31. Debby S says:

    Great food, fantastic staff and awesome decor!

  32. Monica D. says:

    I love everything about the Hinge. Food is awesome. Family environment. Friendly staff. Close to home.

  33. Shannon Sperduto says:

    Absolutely positively LOVE the Hinge!!! Beyond the cozy atmosphere and always smiling faces, the food is always over the top no matter what time of day you pop in. Went to the Santa breakfast … My kids still talk about their Santa!!!! I even brought just about my entire family there for my daughters confirmation dinner. Not only did everyone rave about their meal for days afterwards.. But they went on and on about how great the staff was with keeping the younger ones entertained. If you haven’t been there…. Get there! You don’t know what you’ve been missing! Simply put…ya put it over the top T!

  34. Patti Adamski says:

    I never heard of the Hinge until recently. I have been there twice in a month and cannot say enough about the place. Great Food, Great Ambiance and Great People. No Gift Certificate needed here- i love the place! I will be back often..

  35. Crissy says:

    I loved working at the Hinge Cafe… Almost as much as I loved the food. T is awesome and so is the rest of the staff!!! The food is amazing and so is the chef!!!! I love the Hinge Cafe!

  36. Sandy says:

    This is the old location of The Napoleon Cafe… 1989! I remember it well. I’m glad to see a new Cafe there.

  37. Anne says:

    My girlfriend and I love Hinge. And it’s close by. Kudos for making it work in Port Richmond.


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