Bayview superfan Olton Rensch has leapt over hurdle after hurdle to open his coffee shop Tallio’s. In March 2021 he was ready to open the doors to the community-centered coffee shop; he’d already worked tirelessly in San Francisco to make space for Black business owners through his activism while a student at San Francisco State University. But after briefly opening in March 2021 he closed once again, only to reopen for a few months for to-go and online deliveries. In June 2021 the shop closed — until now. “People are so happy we’re open,” Rensch says.
The extended closure cost not only money but also Rensch’s mental health, he says. He turned to a lot of people for advice and support during the year-and-a-half the pandemic had the shop closed. Finally, as of the first week of September, the Health Department gave him a clean bill of health. “I got so much support from the city with my permits,” Rensch says. “But it was a long struggle. They would tell me something, I would do it that way, but it wouldn’t work.”
For example, the city dinged him for an ADA door — he already had one but didn’t realize the city required his shop to have two. There were also small holes in the walls, imperfections, that the city wanted to be plugged up. He started to feel like he was being picked on, he says. “I just couldn’t get open,” Rensch sighs. “They wanted more money, but I couldn’t make any because we were closed.” He credits his brother for talking to the inspectors on his behalf when he “just needed some fresh air.” He ended up spending nearly $200,000 on the remodel and update.
The drinks are much the same as when he first opened, including in-house roasted coffee and Surinamese ginger beer — but the food menu is expanded. Avocado toast, waffles, and baked goods from a number of bakeries including Panorama, Rize Up, Yes Pudding, and Starter Bakery are all on deck. (He’s seeing which ones customers will gravitate towards.) Tallio’s will also make its own berliner bollens, a German doughnut-like pastry also known as a berliner, on-site. In addition to a larger food menu, events will be a way for fans to engage with the business. Rensch is excited about coffee classes and barista competitions to get folks to visit the Bayview. “We’re making up for what we lost,” Rensch says. “I’ve used all my 401k to pay employees and keep the business open. But I don’t want to give up. We’re here now.”
Tallio’s is open from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. until the grand opening on Saturday, September 24 from 7 a.m.-4 p.m.