With the purchase of Kitchen Santa Cruz, the Santa Cruz County java fixture is stepping up its food game
Getting its start in Boulder Creek in 1994, Coffeetopia has been caffeinating Santa Cruz County residents for more than two decades. Now with three locations, owners Dave and Kristin Larkin have recently purchased Kitchen Santa Cruz, mostly as a means to better prepare Coffeetopia’s food. However, it is a whole new business venture of its own. We asked Dave to tell us all the details.
GT: Why did you purchase Kitchen Santa Cruz?
DAVE LARKIN: None of our three locations have a kitchen. They’re licensed for prep. We were busting at the seams in terms of mixing our cream cheeses and rolling breakfast burritos. It seemed like an excellent business opportunity, and a way to provide ourselves kitchen access. It’s a separate business. Its primary function is a shared commercial kitchen for all the people that use it. One of the eight tenants is Coffeetopia. There’s a whole separate crew of employees that come in a couple of times a week under the Coffeetopia nameplate and produce hummus and breakfast burritos and oatmeal cups. The things that we were making on-site, we now do here. It’s such a better set up. The staff at the cafes are happy because it really frees them up to concentrate on customers and coffee. Customers are happy because our consistency, like our breakfast burritos, is better than it’s ever been.
Has your menu changed since the acquisition?
A little. When we started doing breakfast burritos a couple of years ago, we had the idea of doing a vegetarian burrito: a bean and cheese, heavy on the cabbage. We chose quickly not to make those, because we just didn’t have the facility to be doing those and breakfast burritos. That’s something we really couldn’t do before having a kitchen facility. One of the things that we’ve been working on is kicking out quick breads for our cafes. So banana bread, pumpkin ginger bread, a cranberry-orange bread. Having a kitchen has allowed us to play around that way and bring different flavors into our shops, things that are unique to Coffeetopia.
Who are the other tenants?
We’ve been selling Kerri’s Kreations I think since we started Coffeetopia. She is one of the tenants here. There’s Rebecca’s Mighty Muffins. The Truck Stop, which is a local food truck you see at many farmers markets in town. Also Inzane Pops. They make amazing organic popsicles. It took me by surprise how good they were. I also have the Kale Company. They do dehydrated kale chips, sold in natural food stores all across the country. They are one of my biggest tenants here. Shelley’s Biscotti, she’s been here for 15 years. Also Bella Chi Cha. They make pesto and layered cheese breads. They ship all over the place also. They are in fairly wide distribution, Safeways and stuff like that.
Three locations, open seven days a week. Info at coffeetopia.com.
KITCHEN EXPANSION Dave Larkin, owner of Coffeetopia, recently purchased Kitchen Santa Cruz. PHOTO: CHIP SCHEUER