Listen To This Post
In February, the second location of Coffee Coffee will overtake the previous site of Coffee + Food at 5630 Melrose Ave, debuting a toothsome menu more extensive than that of their premier location while preserving the elements that made the original Fairfax Avenue shop a West Hollywood mainstay.
Owner Ricky Hernandez has loved coffee from a young age, and fondly recalls drinking coffee alongside pan tostado with his grandmother as a child (‘when you’re a kid your parents don’t typically let you drink coffee, but my grandmother did’). Although he had toyed with the thought of owning a cafe, the opportunity to purchase his own favorite coffee shop came as a surprise. While drinking a coffee he had just purchased, Hernandez said he overheard the previous manager of Coffee Coffee bemoaning that the shop would be closed if it wasn’t sold. Although his coffee experience was primarily limited to his own caffeine consumption until that point, he found himself the owner of the shop less than a month later.
“My goal was to keep it aesthetically the same, to try to keep the character of the shop but over the time I’ve improved the coffee program, I’ve improved the flow of things,” he said.
Previously limited to beverages, Hernandez implemented a menu that made Coffee Coffee an “unsuspecting spot to get good food”. Yelp! reviewers praise their tacos highly, a feat amid L.A.’s taco oversaturation; similarly, their avocado toast is unique, made with house-made creme fraiche, Maldon salt, black pepper with lemon and olive oil; their ricotta toast is downright artisanal, made with honey, pistachio, cinnamon and Asian pear. They also serve crepes, breakfast burritos, doughnuts and salsa — more food offerings than one might expect from a joint called “Coffee Coffee.”
At an establishment called “Coffee Coffee,” though, their double-namesake had better be worth mentioning. The establishment house-roasts their own private label of single-origin coffees and blends. They use espresso beans in their cold brew, which is served with ice cubes made from the cold brew itself and a repurposed pasta noodle as a straw.
Hernandez called the original spot “more of a vintage-style small shop” — their upcoming space, though, will house an “elevated food scene.” Chef Adrian Castro, who worked at Michelin star-earning Kali down the block from the new location, will run a micro-baking operation out of the new Larchmont Coffee Coffee and craft seasonal dishes relying on ingredients from the Hollywood and Santa Monica farmers markets. Castro’s in-process menu, which he is tooling as their opening date approaches, was shared exclusively with What Now Los Angeles.
The ever-popular ricotta and avocado toasts from the original shop will be upgraded with house-baked, toasted sourdough bread. A handful of elaborate breakfast bowls, including one comprised of farro grains, Meyer lemon, pomegranates, golden beets, squash and amaranth, will be included. The budding menu also includes delicate, flaky tarts, a fusion-style crepe with a cheese crust and Italian seasonings and a number of sweet pastries. Especially alluring, one of the menu’s “sweet bites” will be made of lemon curd, toasted meringue, chamomile, pistachio butter and caramelized white chocolate.
“We’re friends aside from this. We were hanging out together and he said ‘since the pandemic I’ve been doing a lot of baking and stuff at home, I really want a shift… I’ve been working at Kali for four and a half years, I’d really like to do something on my own,'” said Hernandez. “I was a little shocked, he’s definitely a very talented chef… he’s basically cooking every day right now, just getting ready.”
The building’s previous tenant served coffee, making renovations to the new site minimal but notable: the building’s countertops will be replaced with warm brass and accented with quartz, a long overhanging planter will run along a portion of the shop’s wall, light fixtures will be replaced and a pop-up window allowing customers to see into the kitchen will be installed.
Someday, Hernandez hopes to open more Coffee Coffee iterations — however, the original will always hold sentimental value, both in his heart and the hearts of West Hollywood coffee drinkers.
“It’s not the typical pretentious L.A. shop,” he said. “I would say there’s more of a relationship built up [with] the people that come through, that’s probably the number one thing. It’s not just a get-in and get-out kind of shop. Most shops are looking to do volume and get people out as quick as they can… The shop is more of a coffee club — it’s something that people talk about. A lot of customers that would come in wouldn’t tell people about it because they wouldn’t want people to find out about it.”