This cafe -- Verve's 12th overall -- has been a long time coming for co-founders Colby Barr and Ryan O'Donovan. They signed the lease for 162 University Ave. nearly two years ago, in August 2017, and before that had been casually looking for a space in Palo Alto for years.
Inside the new Verve Coffee in downtown Palo Alto. Photo by Sinead Chang.
Verve's coffee is sourced directly from farmers all over the world and roasted in Santa Cruz.
The new Palo Alto cafe will have all of the company's typical coffee offerings, plus one new one -- Verve's take on cold brew, dubbed flash brew. Instead of steeping coffee for hours in cold water, they use heat to brew the coffee, as it is meant to be made, said Barr, and then flash chill and infuse it with nitrogen. The result is "super clean, bright, fresh tasting" cold brew, he said. Verve plans to test out new flavors of flash brew at the Palo Alto cafe before they're rolled out elsewhere.
Verve's founders are nearly as passionate about design as they are coffee. The light-filled, 1,400-square-foot Palo Alto cafe is meant to evoke an Eichler home, with floor-to-ceiling windows, an open floor plan, angular lines and flow between inside and outside. The Mid-century design look was already their aesthetic, Barr said, but they amped up in Eichler-filled Palo Alto.
Floor-to-ceiling windows fill the Palo Alto cafe with natural light. On the back wall hangs a white macrame "circuit board" by San Francisco artist Windy Chien, made from cotton and polypropylene rope. Photo by Sinead Chang.
Doors and large sliding windows open onto a 2,900-square-foot patio outside at the corner of University Avenue and High Street, which has been completely redone. When it's finished in a few weeks, there will be more than 80 seats under olive trees and a wood trellis.
Verve has a long-running partnership with Manresa Bread Manresa Bread, the bakery spinoff of the Michelin-starred Manresa Restaurant in Los Gatos, so look for croissants, chocolate-walnut cookies, kale-Parmesan scones and biscuits, among other baked goods. (Manresa chef-owner David Kinch has frequented one of Verve's Santa Cruz cafes for years, Barr said, and Manresa Bread head baker Avery Ruzicka was once a Verve barista.)
Verve uses the bakery's bread for its toast and sandwiches. The food menu includes avocado toast, chia seed pudding, steel cut oats and a breakfast sandwich on a brioche bun with egg, cheddar cheese and prosciutto. Food is served daily from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Verve started with one cafe in Santa Cruz in 2007 and has since expanded to San Francisco, Los Angeles and Japan. The company is opening a new 8,000-square-foot roastery in Los Angeles this summer.
Verve Palo Alto will be open daily from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.
From left, Verve CEO Mike Eyre and co-founders Colby Barr and Ryan O'Donovan. Photo by Sinead Chang.