Shop Talk | December 19, 2008 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - December 19, 2008

Shop Talk

by Daryl Savage

Coffee shop returns to Midtown

PHILZ COMES TO PALO ALTO ... The popular Creme de Cafe, 3191 Middlefield Road at Loma Verde Avenue, which abruptly shut its doors Oct. 29, will reopen in two months as Philz Coffee. "We're going to make it brighter, happier, homier. It will be like going to your grandma's house," said Phil Jabor, the new owner. Jabor is no stranger to coffee. After three successful coffee shops in San Francisco, and a fourth poised to open soon in downtown San Jose, Jabor is jumping into Palo Alto head first. His commitment sounds solid: "We're going to be cemented here for life. I can't believe it took us so long to open a shop in Palo Alto," he said. Construction is set to begin this weekend. Jabor has made a name for himself since his first store opened in 2002 on 24th Street in San Francisco. Rarely seen without his fedora, he is an admitted character. "Everyone knows me in San Francisco. They call me the Mayor of 24th Street. Even the Mayor calls me 'the Mayor,'" he said. Jabor has built up a loyal following in the City and believes it's just a matter of time before Peninsula devotees will surface. "My coffee shop is different. There's no big noise from a machine. We make our coffee by hand. We brew it one cup at a time," he said. There will be no big cappuccino makers or frothing spigots. If a customer wants foam it is done the old-fashioned way. "We keep it simple. You order a small or a large. That's it. Nothing fancy," Jabor said. If everything goes as planned, Philz in Palo Alto will open in February. "Think Valentine's Day," he said.

CALAFIA PUTS ON FINISHING TOUCHES ... The much anticipated Calafia will open next month in Town & Country Village. This represents celebrity chef Charlie Ayers' first venture into the public restaurant business. Officially called Calafia Cafe & Market a-Go-Go, the 100-plus-seat cafe, which will face the Embarcadero Road side of the shopping center, will have its grand opening on Jan. 20. "This is my new baby. I will be here every single day," said Ayers, best known as Google's founding Executive Chef and the Grateful Dead's private cook. Ayers will offer fare that he calls gourmet, healthful and fast in a setting that is part dining room and part market. "It is slow food, served fast," he said. Although the menu items are the main draw, customers will also be greeted by a 12-foot-long, 100-pound chandelier made from 71 antique milk bottles. "We found the bottles in an old creamery on the East Coast. Each bottle fits over each bulb," he said. If there's an earthquake? "This space has been totally seismically fitted," he said. No worries, just watch the big chandelier sway.

Heard a rumor about your favorite store or business moving out, or in, down the block or across town? Daryl Savage will check it out. She can be e-mailed at


Posted by Shari, a resident of Midtown
on Dec 20, 2008 at 6:28 pm

I have been to Philz in SF. It is indeed some of the best coffee i ever tasted. We're lucky to get it here in Palo Alto. I hope it opens soon.

Posted by Half-Caf, Nonfat Latte/Jane, a resident of Palo Verde
on Dec 21, 2008 at 9:03 am

We'll welcome Philz with open arms (or, rather, coffee cups)!

Posted by just tasted, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 2, 2009 at 1:58 pm

I just tried Philz coffee (Palo Alto location opened today) and it's very good! Phil was there himself - friendly guy.

Posted by Veronica Lightfoot, a resident of another community
on Mar 8, 2009 at 1:47 pm

I am from San Francisco. I know the Mayor of 24th Street San Francisco. I remember when his first shop was just a corner store. When Phil started his venture he would personally feed coffee out of a spoon to his special friends to get their commments and opinions. Fortunatley, I am one of those persons who sipped and experinced the best coffee on this hemisphere before he expanded in the Bay Area. Once you taste Philz Coffee you are addicted.

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 8, 2009 at 3:58 pm

I recently visited Philz. I would really like to see him expand his range of cold drinks with a few smoothies/fruit drinks.

Posted by resident, a resident of Charleston Meadows
on May 23, 2009 at 2:52 pm

Loved the coffee. Great addition to Palo Alto.

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