Réveille Coffee Co. plans to open a cafe on a corner of the Lower Haight where neighbors rejected another coffee suitor, Blue Bottle, this spring. This week, the Réveille team will start to remodel the vacant space at 201 Steiner (at Waller), which was formerly another cafe called Bean There. They hope to open their doors in November with coffee, beer and wine, and a full food menu.
“We have always wanted to be a part of the Lower Haight neighborhood,” says Tommy Newbury, who owns Réveille with his brother Chris. “After relentlessly looking, we finally came across this opportunity which we couldn't pass on.”
But will neighborhood groups who were allergic to the prospect of a Blue Bottle location share that enthusiasm? For months, a group of outspoken neighbors opposed Blue Bottle’s plan to move into the space on the grounds that Blue Bottle is a chain unsuited to the neighborhood.
Although it’s a homegrown operation headquartered in Oakland, Blue Bottle has more than 30 cafes across the globe, far exceeding the local limits on “formula retail.” And although the Planning Department indicated preliminary plans to approve Blue Bottle’s Condition Use Authorization to move into the space, the debate got so heated that Planning commissioners reversed themselves and voted to deny the permit, and thus the space, to Blue Bottle.
Enter Réveille, which started in 2010 as a food truck and remains a David to Blue Bottle’s Goliath with three café locations, one in North Beach, one in the Castro, and a third in Mission Bay. That final location opened last year, and in addition to serving as Réveille’s roasting headquarters, it’s home to Café Réveille, which serves a full offering of food.
Newbury says the Lower Haight Réveille will be built on that model. “At this location you can expect all the usual Réveille favorites in an all-day menu format, including our Moroccan Shakshuka, kale salad, Réveille Burger and our chia seed pudding pot,” the owner says. He intends that the space, which can seat around 40 people, plus “great outdoor seating along the wiggle,” will stay open for dinner.