Mt. Airy book store owner branches out to open noodle house

 Less than six months after Read and Eat opened on Germantown Avenue, owner Jake Sudderth is branching out to open a noodle house on the same block. (Neema Roshania/WHYY)

Less than six months after Read and Eat opened on Germantown Avenue, owner Jake Sudderth is branching out to open a noodle house on the same block. (Neema Roshania/WHYY)

When Jake Sudderth took over Walk a Crooked Mile Books in the summer, he wasn’t expecting much. 

After all, he was getting into the used book store business. He believed it was a worthy endeavor though, and he cared about keeping the longtime staple of Mt. Airy a “trumpet of the community.”

Former owner Greg Williams was selling the store after a series of battles with SEPTA over the store’s Mt. Airy train station location. Sudderth moved the store to the former Video Library location on the 7100 block of Germantown Avenue and renamed it Read and Eat.

He was hopeful the higher-traffic block would be a boon for business.

Six months after NewsWorks sat down with Sudderth, he says he is pleased with the progess the store has made.

So much so, he has opened a noodle house a few doors over at the former location of InFusion Coffeehouse, which closed in late Oct

The new joint, which held its soft opening at the end of Dec., is called Mt. Airy Noodle House and serves Vietnamese-style pho. 

Sudderth says he chose to go with pho based off “neighborhood cravings” he picked up on after a casual survey of local business owners and residents. 

“I certainly wasn’t planning on this,” he says of his business expansion, adding that the vacant space left by InFusion and the success of the book store compounded to create the opportunity. 

After an initial run, he hopes to expand to other Vietnamese offerings, like bahn mi or appetizers. 

Sudderth has big plans in store for Read and Eat in 2015, too, saying he hopes to create a calendar of events that is more “intellectual.”

“We are lucky that the people who come in here are smart and well-read but we want to match their game if possible,” he says of his plans to add more programming to the store, including book clubs and writers clubs.

He’s looking to bring more food and drinks to the space as well. That’ll be easier when the noodle house opens. Right now, the store brings in food from Little Jimmie’s and other local bakeries and fooderies, but once Sudderth has access to a kitchen, he hopes to be able to supplement the offerings as well. 

He sees a lot of potential in his book store, the noodle house and Mt. Airy in general.

“More people are looking to stay local instead of heading into Center City,” he says.

“It’s going to keep getting better and better. Mt. Airy is on the rise.”

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