In the bubbling, constant conversation over Bay Area coffee, the question of saturation often comes up. When, you might ask, will there be too many coffee shops in this part of the world? Well, if there’s one thing that may never hit a saturation point around here, it’s non-profit, event-driven community spaces fostering both artistic expression and…coffee. For this seasonal denouement as we wrap up our Build-Outs of Summer series with misty, ragweed-blinking eyes, join us for a visit to a little town on the San Pablo Bay, famous for big box stores, Billie Joe from Green Day, and soon, we’re certain…East Bay Coffee Company, which has just completed their build-out and successfully opened in Old Town Pinole.
As told to Sprudge by Lisa Ancira.
Can you tell us more about yourselves?
My husband and I are the owners of the company: we’re Bill & Lisa Ancira. We are musicians by trade; Bill is a producer/writer/arranger and jazz keyboard player, and I am a classically trained pianist and vocal coach with a musical theater background. Both raised in the midwest, we have lived in New York City, Nashville, Miami, Houston, St. Louis, and can now include the SF Bay. With an obvious interest in music and the arts, we really wanted to infuse benefit and enrichment into a community—the answer for us was East Bay Coffee Company: a non-profit, event-driven coffeehouse/venue that would provide a gathering place for community conversations, artistic expression, and training with plenty of exposure to life-giving voices that might otherwise go unheard.
What’s your approach to coffee?
After deciding that we didn’t want to tackle roasting ourselves, we set out to sort through the amazing roasters available to us in the Bay area. Without a doubt, the taste profile we were looking for was Mr. Espresso. Oak wood roasted in the Italian tradition—we feel like it’s the best-kept secret in the Bay!
What’s Pinole, California like?
We are fortunate to be located close to Berkeley and San Francisco, but with the small town benefits that Pinole, CA offers. You can walk down the block from the coffeehouse to Fernandez Park or the Pinole Community Theater. Our patrons range from retirees at the Senior Center around the corner to creative professionals in the entertainment industry to moms with toddlers taking a break after the elementary school drop-off.
Any events coming up we can tell folks about?
Thursday nights are open-mic nights, with sign-ups at 6:30pm, performance at 7pm. Friday and Saturday we feature live music beginning at 7:30pm. Everything from singer/songwriters to jazz to poetry slams. Sunday evenings we feature a faith-based acoustic worship set, “Sunday Sessions” at 7:30pm.
Are you working with craftspeople, architects, and/or creatives that you’d like to mention?
As a non-profit, we had help from so many generous groups and individuals to make East Bay Coffee Company happen. Our custom tables and coffee bar were put together by Cameron Jenkins, a cabinetmaker in Manteca, using wood from our local salvage yard “This and That”. We were able to get a custom concrete counter poured by a volunteer that just happened to be a retired concrete worker. The Plumbing Doctor, Ray Camacho electric, A Mark Above painters and USMaps were just a few of the companies and individuals that donated their services to our cause.