As co-owner and co-creator of Standard Tap and Johnny Brenda’s, two community-centric bar/restaurants, Paul Kimport has participated in many voluntary RCO board positions and community projects in both Northern Liberties and Fishtown. Both restaurants emphasize the values of community building and place-making. Local food sourcing along with its related craft narratives of the people who help bring the food to consumers have always been at the core of the local/seasonal food philosophy of both Standard Tap and Johnny Brenda’s. Standard Tap has been regarded as Philadelphia’s first “gastropub”. The staff at each business enjoys educational field trips to learn from the farmers, brewers, and makers whom they support. Each business continues to engage its respective neighborhoods to work toward greater food resources and culture.
Paul opened Standard Tap with his friend and business partner William Reed in 2000. The partners joined their Northern Liberties neighbors in creating Liberty Lands, a two-acre neighborhood-owned park on reclaimed vacant land with a community garden, playground, programmed stage for events, and other amenities. This combination of civic engagement and local business support was exactly what the partners’ first business plan described as a central value.
Paul and William opened Johnny Brenda’s (JB’s) in Fishtown in 2003. Continuing the business and civic connector roll, Paul moved to Fishtown and began helping ROCs in his new neighborhood. After leaving the Northern Liberties Zoning Advisory Board, Paul served on the board of The Girard Coalition, Inc. and then also created Fishtown Area Business Association (FABA) along with help and support from NKCDC. During this time, he and William also expanded JB’s business and vision to include an independently curated music venue that puts artists and fans first. Through FABA, Paul created The Fishtown Shad Fest, which endeavored to connect the community to both its natural and social history, while also demonstrating the equity-building possibilities of a good community event.
Paul is currently serving as President of Fishtown’s new business association Fishtown.co, which actively pursues BID planning for the neighborhood’s rapidly developing Frankford Avenue corridor. He sees his primary goal as President of Fishtown.co as being a facilitator between the visions of the residential and business communities. Actively valuing both diversity and sustainability in his search for both the “best practice” and community consensus, he sees education as the key to understanding and building better communities.
Paul is a long-time friend and supporter of Greensgrow Farm in Kensington and will be honored this year at the Taste of Kensington event with the Food Innovator Award.