Pacifica, CA

Despite the pandemic, Palmetto Blvd. and the coffee scene are thriving in Pacifica, CA

Kristen Philipkoski

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When I moved to Pacifica in 2011, I perfected my home coffee-brewing game because I coudn't seem to find a great cup locally. I was spoiled by having lived in San Francisco for the previous 20 years, surrounded on all sides by pour overs and artisan lattes. Cafe Pacifica was my closest option in Sharp Park, and it was my emergency source when I ran out of beans at home. Their Kona brew was my favorite in a pinch.

But the coffee landscape has improved significantly with the addition of several cafes and bakeries in the past several years. The most recent addition is Intertwine Cafe. The owners of Kizler's Coffee, which was located in the small shopping center on Palmetto in the Pacific Manor neighborhood (near Safeway and McDonald's), renamed and relocated their business to the opposite end of the street, taking up residence in one of the twin Swiss chalet-style buildings at 1926 Palmetto.

Each of the small buildings formerly housed two hairstyling businesses, which sadly were victims of the pandemic shutdown. The upside is that Intertwine brings a new livliness to Palmetto, which has so much potential as a destination for tourists and locals alike.

In recent years, the city has installed streetlights along Palmetto, as well as landscaping, a bike lane, and a much-needed stop sign and crosswalk at the corner of Clarendon. The little vintage shops, dispensaries and lone book store (Florey's) that currently pepper the street have enjoyed more foot traffic in the area since the pandemic began, with masked locals as well as residents of nearby towns wanting (needing) go get out of the house.

Intertwine is just a couple blocks from the promenade adjacent to the Pacifica Pier, and the perfect way to fuel a hike up Mori Point (where, mourning Maude, Harold sent his Jaguar hearse careening off the cliff). And, if you get too jittery, perhaps make a stop at Lytt?

By the way, if you haven't yet, check out the improvements along the trail leading up to Mori point, including benches and staircaises leading to the beach (no more risking a twisted ankle climbing over the rocks).

The building's twin in a different outfit has also recently received a new tenant: 731 Designs, a modern arts and crafts shop featuring locally-made jewelry, quilts, stationary and lots more. Proprietor Olga Munoz also showcases her beautiful aquatic life-themed watercolors. Stay tuned for my interview with her.

The coffee landscape has evolved significantly in the decade since I moved to Pacifica. My first ray of hope was in late December 2017 when Saltwater Bakery opened, brewing Proyecto Diaz Coffee. It's heavenly with their amazing vegan baked goods. It's just down the street from where I practiced yoga in pre-pandemic days and it became my Sunday routine to take Wini Linguvic's The Elevate Practice class at the Classical Ballet of California studio, then walk the short block for a treat and a black coffee.

I'm getting a little teary remembering that but let's move on.

Soon after that, Soul Grind opened, a glorious, enormous cafe next to Linda Mar beach, where the establishment's proprietor, Eddie, soon began roasting his own beans in a beautiful, fire-engine-red roaster stationed at the center of the restaurant where patrons can watch the action. They also serve up a yummy and extensive menu of breakfast and baked goods. Plus, back in the day, you could work from there if you were a freelancer like me. Sigh, those were the days!

Apologies to the other coffee shops in Pacifica—I have not frequented them enough to give an accurate review. But I have friends and longtime Pacifica residents who are fans of Fog City Java and Beach Monkey Organic Cafe, so a shout out to them.

Overal, despite a global pandemic shutdown that has lasted nearly a year and devastated small business across the globe, Pacifica's coffee scene and the little Palmetto promenade are enjoying a revitalization. I'm relieved to see that many of the businesses have managed to stay open (another shoutout to a favorite, Vintage Cove, which also recently moved down the street slightly south when they lost their lease), and that, miraculously, new ones have emerged. It's a funny mix of businesses from vintage home shops to dispensaries to cafes, but that is, after all, what makes up a lively and entertaining business district.

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I'm a veteran writer and editor and founder of Mean Magazine and The Mean Podcast for GenX women. I write about everything from fashion to science and everything in between. I’ve written for Racked, Refinery 29, 7x7, SF Chronicle, Wired, Gizmodo and many others.

Pacifica, CA
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