One of our top priorities when traveling is seeking out the destination’s best restaurants. When planning a girls’ getaway in Philadelphia, we kept hearing about White Dog Cafe. The restaurant is known for whimsical decor and a rotating menu that gets rave reviews. 

While we’re certainly intrigued by the food and beverage offerings, we have to admit the design of the cafe is what we have our eye on. Recently, Kate of Rohe Creative was brought in to design on a 2,500 square foot​ addition, which we’re taking a look at today. 

The expansion took over an old hair salon, which was a long and narrow two-story space. “We were very inspired by white the White Dog brand has done so well at; providing different experiences in different rooms,” Kate explains. “This way the guests’ impression of the restaurant is ever evolving as they return.” Kate and her team employed this concept with their design. 

First is The Parlor, a colorful space that beckons guests to stay awhile. There’s a cozy 12-seat bar, a 25-foot banquette lined with warm velvets and vibrant plaid pillows, and a curated collection of art featuring dogs of all breeds, which Kate collected from flea markets, private dealers, and even the original White Dog location. Utilizing warm woods, vintage oak flooring, and plenty of brass, Kate says the space as a whole feels “warm, inviting, and lived in, like a living room should.”

At the back of The Parlor is a winding stairway that leads you to the sunlit lower level. This area is the The Solarium. Here, floral fabrics, metal and rattan garden furniture, and lots of live greenery make for an unexpected and memorable dining experience. With a hearty dose of botanical prints, it feels very Victorian, but still quite modern and bright. “The color palette is ultimately cool using mostly greens and blues, which is typically a restaurant design ‘no-no’,” Kate shares. “However, through our multi-layered approach using vintage fabrics, incredible custom pillows, warm amber lighting, antiqued mirrored ceilings and walls, we were able to give the space warmth and sparkle that can work in both the naturally sun-soaked room by day and as a romantic, enchanted garden by night.” 

Though each room in the addition is quite different, both The Parlor and The Solarium tug at our design-loving heartstrings, making White Dog Cafe our first stop in Philadelphia.