At Bloomstock, a quaint cafe in the Bayview serving specialty coffee and waffles, customers occasionally ask owner (and sole employee) Ross Rayala whether his business is 420-friendly (Craigslist code for cool with pot). “I just tell them to look around,” says Rayala, indicating Bloomstock’s psychedelic decor, which includes some of his own art.
“I’m not saying smoke up in the shop,” he clarifies, “but I don’t mind talking about it at all.”
In fact, Rayala spent the last 11 years in the nascent cannabis industry, and started Bloomstock as a marijuana brand before pivoting to coffee and waffles at his new cafe, which opened last month. Located in a small space with no indoor seating at 1730 Yosemite Avenue, Bloomstock takes over from previous tenant Greaser Coffee (an offshoot of the Inner Sunset’s Snowbird) and, before that, cult favorite Trouble Coffee, which closed its Bayview location in 2017. It’s also right across from neighborhood favorite Auntie April’s new sister bar and restaurant Cafe Envy
“[The neighborhood is] a great mixture of residential and light industrial, with lots of craftspeople and contractors,” Rayala says.
While traveling the state to pursue his cannabis business, Rayala also became passionate about coffee and wound up modeling his shop after quirky, independent cafes like Collage Coffee in Eagle Rock, LA, and Menotti’s in Venice Beach. Sacramento coffee roaster Camellia roasts a custom blend for Bloomstock, also available for purchase by the bag.
Seeing Trouble’s success with its signature cinnamon-sugar toast, Rayala decided to try his hand at his own sweet offering: waffles, available in a number of different flavors. (Neighbor business Cafe Envy doesn't’ serve waffles like sibling Auntie April’s, so there’s no competition there.) The banana butterscotch version, a recipe developed by consulting chef Matt Masera (Wayfare Tavern), is Bloomstock’s bestseller so far, as well as Rayala’s personal favorite. Savory options include a jalapeño-cheddar waffle and a pizza waffle with sun-dried tomato, kale, and mozzarella. A “secret menu” of one-off waffles is offered with a wink and a nudge. And all of the waffles are gluten-free, made with rice-based flour, though Rayala doesn't advertise the fact.
Then there’s Rayala’s related passion: gardening. Bloomstock’s location boasts a unique metal parklet out front, an existing feature that provides seating for neighbors and customers.
“The parklet was a big part of me getting the space, cause I knew I was in charge of the plants and stuff, and coming from growing, I really found a passion for plants.” Bougainvillea on one side and a passion flower on the other are already starting to make themselves at home, scaling the bleacher-like structure.
Bloomstock is now open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday