The Blue Bottle Coffee Cart has had a long and rocky journey to its newfound location. Originally slated to be a part of the all but aborted Dolores Park food cart project, Blue Bottle's attempt at mobile coffee brought a hailstorm of criticism from local businesses. So much criticism (a signed petition, meeting after meeting) that Blue Bottle founder James Freeman chose to withdraw the cart from the park, saying that he had "reached the limit of my ability to be involved in a controversial situation."
Blue Bottle advocates and coffee cart fans can now rejoice as Blue Bottle has found a San Francisco-bound location for their much disputed Mobile Kiosk.
The aluminum-side trailer was originally stationed near Gold's Gym, but because of slow traffic it will now live in the Castro at Market and 17th streets, Tuesday through Saturday from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. Shots of espresso will be pulled on a brilliant red, propane-fueled, Astoria lever-pull espresso machine with single origins offered on the drip bar. In the weeks to come pastries, retail bags, and iced coffee will be added to the menu as well. Freeman said, "So far the neighborhood has been super supportive, and we're making more coffee every week."
While a Blue Bottle cart in the already oversaturated coffee market of the Mission seemed an odd decision by the contentious Recreation and Parks Department, there's little reason for anyone to dispute the presence of Blue Bottle in the Castro. There, the cart can only help quench the need for good coffee while demonstrating that the Castro is ripe for a new wave of third wave coffee purveyors.
When asked if the coffee cart's victory had brought back any memories of the Dolores Park controversy, Freeman said, "I can barely remember it, but I do remember thinking at the time that it reminded me of something people used to say where I grew up in rural Humboldt County: 'Seagulls follow the trawler because they think they'll get sardines.'"