Beachside restaurant set to open at Judah Street and 48th Avenue
Pat and Buffy Maguire, the owners of the Ocean Beach-area fixture Java Beach Cafe, are just more than a week away from opening their newest venture, Beachside. But if you’re expecting another location of Java Beach, prepare to to get your head spun.
Behind the brown paper covering the windows of the restaurant at Judah Street and 48th Avenue, construction workers bustled about, installing a fire-suppression system in the kitchen or studying the wiring as Buffy Maguire showed an Ocean Beach Bulletin reporter around the restaurant, which will be officially named Beachside Coffee Bar and Kitchen.
But even with all the construction activity, it’s clear from the first step inside the restaurant that coffee is front and center.
An obsession with coffee
Immediately to the left of the restaurant entrance is a top-flight Italian La Marzocco espresso machine that’s the anchor of Beachside’s coffee station. “It cost more than my first car,” Maguire said.
The machine may be the center of the coffee station, but a fascination with premium coffee – maybe “obsession” is a better word – is at the center of the reason it’s there.
A few years ago, Maguire explained, San Francisco experienced a transformation of its coffee culture. While previously people had been satisfied with a good strong cup, many now not only expect even better quality, but also want to know details such as where the coffee came from, how it was grown, how it was roasted and by whom, much as diners want to know the provenance of their pork chops.
“About three years ago, we dedicated ourselves to figuring out that change,” Maguire said.
“We went on a journey with this.”
A key step in that quest for coffee knowledge was collaborating with Vince Virzi of Due Torri Coffee, a friend and fourth-generation coffee roaster who also has worked with several well-known coffee bars in eastern San Francisco.
After undertaking their study of the cutting edge of coffee, she said, it became clear to them that what they wanted was an experience that wasn’t available at any west-side coffee joints: varietal coffee sourced in small batches, roasted in small batches and brewed in small batches, just like an exacting chef might change a dinner menu based on seasons and quality. Virzi will roast small lots of coffee exclusively for Beachside.
This means that a type of coffee that’s on the menu Monday may be replaced by another type just a few days later if it isn’t available in sufficient quality or quantity, but it may reappear some other time.
Such a commitment to premium, small-batch coffee may not be unique in the Bay Area, but it’s not something people associate with San Francisco’s outer Sunset District – yet.
This focus on serving what’s best at the moment also is a departure from the approach at Java Beach, where they do take pride in quality, but customers have come to expect a few brews to be available day in and day out.
One coffee treat from Java Beach that Beachside will borrow is iced coffee, produced solely for this use through a cold steeping process in which the coffee is never heated or brewed as most iced coffee is.
Beyond coffee at Beachside
Coffee may be the most noticeable feature of Beachside for customers, but the food is getting its share of care from the owners.
Maguire said Beachside will use some recipes from her grandfather, a Sicilian immigrant who was a San Francisco fisherman and restaurateur.
The recipes that will show up at Beachside include simple dishes such as hamburgers of grass-fed beef, meatball sandwiches and fried-chicken sandwiches, as well as salads.
But gourmands may have eyes for only three words on the menu: “Irish breakfast sandwich.” Seemingly purpose-built to quell the post-session hunger pangs of surfers emerging from Ocean Beach’s chilly waters, the sandwich will have fried eggs, a choice of Irish bacon or sausage, white and black puddings, and fried tomato on a roll.
Maguire said she’s also developing some vegan options, but hadn’t yet settled on items or recipes.
The coffee and the food menu at Beachside seem primarily oriented toward grown-up tastebuds, but kids and others with a sweet tooth won’t be left out, with snow cones, homemade cotton candy, and a small selection of cookies and pastries.
Beachside also will have wine, beer on tap, Lillet cocktails and Strauss soft-serve ice cream.
Beachside’s neighborhood impact
Beachside replaces the C&M Bar, a business that wasn’t known for trouble, but simply wasn’t known at all by many neighborhood residents, who saw the dark interior only when the mylar-sheeted front door was open.
The Maguires hope the new restaurant will be a 180-degree turn from that, similar to the way the Judah and Sloat locations of Java Beach have become hubs of neighborhood activity.
“Beachside Bohemia” is the way Pat Maguire describes it, explaining that he wants to reproduce some of the feel of old Carville. He even jokes that he was visited by the ghost of Col. Charles Dailey, who is credited with founding Carville, the quirky 1890s community known for its houses made of old streetcars. “Beachside” was the name given to Dailey’s early settlement by a reporter for the San Francisco Bulletin newspaper.
Beachside has an outdoor-seating permit, Buffy Maguire said, with Adirondack chairs set for sidewalk lounging. She said the restaurant’s hours are still being worked out, but probably will be from 7 a.m. To 7 or 9 p.m. Beachside’s total capacity will be about 20 to 25 seats.
In contrast to the Java Beach cafes, where laptops sometimes outnumber lattes, Beachside will not have WiFi service.
When Beachside opens, scheduled for Aug. 25, Maguire expects to employ about 15 people.
Beachside is set to open for business Thursday, Aug. 25, with a block party including children’s activities scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 27. from 11 a.m. To 3 p.m.
All photos: Kristine Mendoza
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