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Turns Out Philz Coffee’s Co-Founder Owns the Building Where the Company Won’t Renew Its Lease

Also, staff at the 24th Street shop say rats were commonplace — and not in a cute Ratatouille way

Coffee bag.
Philz Coffee’s flagship closing on 24th Street in mid-October is a bit more confusing than it seems.
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Paolo Bicchieri is a reporter at Eater SF writing about Bay Area restaurant and bar trends, coffee and cafes, and pop-ups.

After announcing plans to close its original location in the Mission District later this year when its lease at 3101 24th Street runs out, Philz Coffee now seems to have left out a key piece of information — specifically, that the company’s co-founder owns the building in which the coffee shop sits. The surprising plot twist comes via reporting from Mission Local, which found through public records that a company founded by former Philz Coffee CEO Jacob Jaber, the son of Philz Coffee namesake and co-founder Phil Jaber, appears to own the building where the company says it doesn’t plan to renew its lease.

It’s a little confusing, but according to records reviewed by Mission Local, Jacob Jaber founded Humble Lion, LLC, an investment company that lists Philz as one of its portfolio companies. A deed dated October 12, 2011, held by the San Francisco County’s Office of the Assessor-Recorder, then lists Humble Lion as the owner of the 3101 24th Street building. Xanny Tasej, a former team lead at the coffee shop until April 2023, seemed to confirm the fact that the company owns the building, telling Mission Local that tenants from the building’s upper floors would sometimes bring rent checks to Philz employees downstairs.

Neither Humble Lion nor Philz responded to the Mission Local’s requests for comment, nor did Philz respond to a request for comment from Eater SF.

Mission Local further reports the building is in poor condition, according to Philz Coffee staff. Numerous workers talked to Mission Local about having made requests to the company to address “pretty big rats” in the coffee shop; five or so would scurry out of sight in the morning when employees turned on the lights, the outlet reports. Other issues included spotty power, a broken fridge, and “peeling floors and walls.” Lack of air conditioning caused staff grief, and new equipment reportedly went to newer stores like those near the Embarcadero rather than the flagging flagship.

Given the conditions staff reported, moving out of the space makes some sense. Tasej said maintenance problems came up with corporate on an ongoing basis, including the recurring rat situation and the utility problems. Workers say things went further downhill when Phil stepped away due to health issues over the last few years and Jacob stepped away from the company in 2021.

Philz Coffee is a San Francisco original, known for serving a variety of roasts and for its iced mint mojito latte. The company expanded in a big way in 2016 when it raised $45 million from venture capital firm TPG. With the shuttering of the original store, in a building that Philz itself could hold up ad infinitum thanks to Humble Lion, it’s a true change of the guard for the Bay Area-born business.