The Mellow, that very hip plant store on Haight and Masonic Streets, is turning into a cafe. Well, sort of. David Velasco, one of the co-founders of the Mission District-born plant and vibes store alongside his wife Lorena Cortez, says their newest store will offer takeout coffee as of Saturday, September 3. “The Mellow at Upper Haight was conceived as a community hub more than just retail,” Velasco says.
The Mission District branch of Mellow opened in March 2020, a week before lockdown, with the Upper Haight location following in May 2021. Velasco is a man of many hats: he’s a composer who studied in San Francisco, but he’s also trained as a barista, working at Duboce Cafe and trained by Blue Bottle staff. He’s also half-Colombian, and his wife’s family is rooted in Mexico, so coffee culture looms large in their history. “That love never went away,” Velasco says.
The menu will be limited, with the shop serving only specialty espresso drinks and pour overs. It’s a multi-roaster approach, first starting with Outer Sunset and Alamo Park’s Lady Falcon Coffee Roasters with an espresso made with beans from Chicago-founded Intelligentsia. The beans will rotate every quarter, a chance to bring new voices to the handsome blonde wood bar installed in the shop. “We want to keep things fun,” Velasco says of the coffee program.
To kick things off, the shop will host a free coffee day this weekend where folks can buy a plant and grab a cup of coffee to go. The couple hope to install benches for leisurely coffee drinking outside the shop as they say the corner falls prey to trash and dumping. “We want to reactivate that corner,” Velasco says. For now, there’s no bites on the menu, but maybe that’ll change in the future. They have a lease on a space in Lower Haight that will hopefully open next year (Velasco says it’ll be in the area of Fillmore and Haight streets, but the location is still a secret to their growing base of fans.) Check out the inbound cafe on Haight Street, which joins Coffee Outthere as relatively new players to the legendary district.
As of Monday, September 5, The Mellow’s Haight Street hours will change to 7 a.m. to noon Monday through Thursday, and 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday through Sunday.