One of my many habitual behaviors is that I drink coffee most weekday afternoons. When at the office we usually walk over to Philz Coffee, though occasionally we go to Starbucks or another independent store. I had a little victory there last fall when I complained through the Philz app that the store’s outside seating was in poor repair (mostly plastic chairs and tables which were falling apart), and within a couple of weeks they had replaced most of them with sturdy metal chairs and tables. I’m taking full credit for that one.
When working at home I’d drive to Philz Coffee on Middlefield Rd. in Palo Alto, which I discovered during the pandemic. One attraction for that location even in the pre-vaccination pandemic days was that they have two nice patios with ample seating, and even over the winter it can be a nice spot to hang for 10 minutes or so as long as it isn’t actively raining.
Sadly, in early February the building which housed that Philz had a major fire, which also destroyed the Bill’s Cafe location two doors over, which Debbi and I had started patronizing for lunch last fall. Reportedly the fire started in the dry cleaners, and also damaged the liquor store which was the fourth tenant. Sadly, I expect the building will be razed and replaced with something else, likely pushing all the tenants elsewhere. There aren’t really any other retail buildings in that area, so if any of them move and re-open, it will probably be at least half a mile in either direction on Middlefield, and probably in not-as-nice a spot.
So I’ve been really missing that Philz the last couple of months. I’ve been driving down to the Philz in Sunnyvale, which also has ample seating, but in a large and usually empty public plaza, which is neither as comfortable nor as interesting for people-watching. Plus it gets cold when the wind blows! I also go to the nearby Starbucks when I don’t feel like driving that distance. (It’s only a few minutes further than the Palo Alto Philz was, but somehow that makes a difference.)
On top of that, in mid-March Philz’ main roasting warehouse had part of a roof collapse in one of the intense wind storms the area experienced in late winter. (We had three sections of fence come down at home, and several extended power outages.) Worse, one person was killed by the falling ceiling. Consequently, all Philz locations have been gradually running out of beanz, until finally last week they only had one or two varieties left. Which made me even less motivated to drive there.
It sounds like the warehouse is ready to re-open, so things should improve. But it’s been a rough winter for my usual caffeination spots.
Now if Bill’s can just find a convenient spot near us to open a new restaurant.