Caffe Calabria, San Diego
In the 15 years since opening on 30th Street, Caffe Calabria has become a neighborhood fixture and gathering place for the North Park community, with its house-roasted coffee now served in countless local restaurants. Owner Arne Holt is planning to create a similar hub downtown, where he's in the process of building out a new coffee bar in the base of the 1 Columbia Place building that will open later this summer, with more expansion to come.
The design of the new 1, 600-square-foot space will be different than the rustic North Park cafe; a dedicated Italophile, Holt is planning a modern, minimalist look, with a coffee bar procured from Italy, a Kees van der Westen espresso machine and sleek seating options inside and on a patio. Another commanding feature will be a installation wall, which might display rotating collections based on Italian motorcycles, vintage espresso machines and fashion.Caffe Calabria will also be streamlining its menu for this location, and all new locations going forward. There will be a handful of espresso drinks, house coffee, and cold brew on tap, plus pastries and a dozen flavors of gelato.
As for the original North Park cafe and roastery, Holt says he's still planning on adding a gelateria at the front of the space; upstairs, he's installed a new coffee bar and event space that will be open on weekends and will host parties and trainings. A recently-acquired full liquor license means a new menu of Italian-inspired cocktails and eventually, an extension of the pizzeria's hours and the transformation of a back area into a lounge.
Holt tells Eater that he has another project in the works, this one in Tijuana, where Caffe Calabria will be opening a small coffee kiosk in the open-air Plaza Rio shopping center.