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Much-Contested Coffee Caravan California Kahve Finds New Home in Stinson Beach

California Kahve became a lightning rod for San Franciscans’ ire over street shutdowns

California Kahve’s coffee caravan in the Outer Sunset of San Francisco.
California Kahve’s coffee caravan in the Outer Sunset of San Francisco.
Paolo Bicchieri
Paolo Bicchieri is a reporter at Eater SF writing about Bay Area restaurant and bar trends, coffee and cafes, and pop-ups.

California Kahve, Molly Welton’s pandemic-born mobile coffee business, is getting a new home in the coastal town of Stinson Beach in Marin County. The coffee truck is open as of April 7, and Welton hopes to be selling Moonrose Lattes and Afghan cookies most every day through the beachtown’s busy summer and well into the future.

California Kahve was a part of San Francisco Park & Recreation’s food truck pilot program, and the move comes after Welton and the business became lightning rods for a very public and contentious debate around San Francisco’s Great Highway remaining open or closed. But all the attention and controversy, which eventually ended with Welton being kicked off the Great Highway, also earned her a lot of fans and well-wishers. That included Fritz Bikes in Stinson Beach, who reached out to Welton. “I feel like the caravan is perfect for Stinson,” Welton says. “They reached out and told me they’d been approved for one food truck, and that they wanted me. They said they read about me, that they loved the coffee, and invited me to bring it up there.”

Technically speaking, the business will not be permanent onsite. Welton will have to pack it up each night, but the bike shop has no limit on the number of days that California Kahve can sell. She reminds her fans that she is not fully leaving the city. Her truck, which she was able to get going after the popularity of her 1960 Layton trailer “caravan,” will stay at its new home on the weekends, which is right inside Golden Gate Park off of Lincoln Avenue by the southern Murphy Windmill.

The ongoing pop-up will offer pastries from a Mill Valley baker that, Welton hopes, will be this company’s first wholesale account. Business has been so good she’s been able to hire a few would-be baristas who she’s excited to train. Off the Grid made a spot for her at a number of their events through to October. And she has a few other exciting projects in the works, too, she can’t talk about just yet.

“How lucky was I to be the one person who got to sell coffee up on the Great Highway. Who knows if that will ever happen again?” Welton says. “I feel super fortunate. And so many opportunities came up for me because of that exposure and because of that backlash.”

California Kahve be open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Fritz Bikes in Stinson at 3415 Highway One, with hopes to expand. She’ll stay open 8 am to 4 pm in Golden Gate Park on Saturday and Sunday.