As Charles Kusuma was coming up in the restaurant and hotel industry, his mother—who had long hoped to own her own cafe—kept him grounded with a simple piece of advice: always treat your guest as your friend. When she passed away, Charles decided to pursue her dream in her honor. He rescued a local cafe from closing, and reopened it on his mother's birthday in 2010 as Never Too Latte, complete with a business mantra that would make her proud: "Enter as strangers, leave as friends."
From the red-velvet mochas to the boxes of macarons baked by Charles's wife, Sheila, most things at Never Too Latte have a personal touch. You can even stay well into lunch and dinnertime, as the menu features chicken-apple sausages, kettle chips, and sandwiches.
At most drinking establishments, the interaction with the customer begins and ends at ordering, save for a question about adding a vague amount of milk or sugar. Not at Raging Boba—here, the drink makers ask guests to taste their bubble tea before being served and offer suggestions. This allows the shop to tweak each serving to a visitor's particular taste for sweetness, flavor, and straw thickness. This care extends to Raging Boba's snow ice, a Taiwanese fruit concoction topped with jellies and boba pearls.
If you ask Juicey Lucy’s founder, Miss Lucy, what 1 million ounces of juice can do, she’ll tell you it makes for radiant health, clear skin, and improved digestion in those looking to add vitality to their diet. For 20 years, she’s been changing the lifestyles and lives of San Franciscans for the better with 100% organic, fresh-pressed fruit and vegetable juices.
Miss Lucy now focuses on infusing bodies with fresh juice that is always organic, seasonal, sustainable, and locally sourced from farmers' markets and farms within a 200-mile radius. Instead of relying on standardized recipes with the same ingredients, Juicey Lucy's shops by the bounty of the season year-round. The goal is to provide a top quality product that is beneficial for customers. Juices may be purchased by themselves or as part of a cleanse program and can be found at various farmers' markets, special events, or in one of Lucy’s delivery fleets.
"For those who have traveled at least once to Italy and indulged in the genuine flavors of La Dolce Vita, there is finally a new place in The City where you can find authentic desserts and many more unique delicacies."
It's virtually impossible to return from Europe without a keepsake, whether it be a Parisian scarf or a stolen gondola oar. Restaurateur Aliah Warmund brought back something far more substantial: a dream. Allah was so enamored with the freshness of the food and desserts of Italy that she dedicated her life to sharing them with America. Thus Caffe Dolce was born.
Sweet and Smooth
Tahitian vanilla. Lemoncello. These traditional gelato and sorbet flavors need no introduction. Luckily, Allah wanted 25 flavors in her dessert case, so she experimented—and with great success. Ask for a spoon and sample signature flavors, such as PB&J and Marcel My Bell, made with swirled salty caramel and brown sugar. And though Allah is a Chicago native, the San Francisco 49ers gelato—made with gold sprinkled vanilla gelato and red-velvet cake balls—leaves little doubt where her gridiron loyalty lies.
More than Just Dessert
There's another secret to Caffe Dolce's success, and it doesn't require a spoon. Caffe Dolce has become a popular local destination for its fresh grilled paninis and build-your-own subs. They are all italian, from the herbaceous pesto to the paper-thin slices of prosciutto. Coffee is also a staple here. Baristas are on hand steaming milk for illy Italian espresso and rich hot chocolate, which can be made with caramel or a hint of chili pepper for a zing.
A brown-sugar latte made with almond milk and topped with whipped cream and chocolate powder to sate a sweet tooth. A cup of hot Numi tea to soothe a sore throat. A cup of coffee capped with a shot of espresso, a redeye, to awaken the senses for the rest of the workday. Regardless of what drinks they prefer, the staff at Caffeine Anonymous provides customers with sippable bursts of energy, which they can pair with complementary pastries, such as individual-sized pies.
Rockit Swirl’s self-serve fro-yo emporium doles out creamy yogurt in a variety of flavors, fully customized with edible embellishments from the toppings bar. The lineup of cool treats includes nonfat Oreo, mango gelato, and low-fat Ghirardelli chocolate, and the sprawling toppings bar features a medley of fresh fruit, nuts, and candies with which to decorate fro-yo cups or compose blueberry mosaics.