The celebration officially completes the transition at 2 Miller from LaCoppa Coffee, which Bay Area coffee pioneer Arnold Spinelli operated as Bonita Coffee Company in the early 2000s, to Equator.
Russell said the idea of Equator taking over at 2 Miller Ave. originated in May 2013, when Spinelli told her that he was considering selling the business and hoped to pass it on to Equator. Russell, Equator co-owner Brooke McDonnell and Spinelli have been friends for 15 years.
“When I arrived in San Francisco on June 22, 1989, the first coffee shop I visited was Spinelli’s on 24th Street in San Francisco,” Russell said. “I then made my way to Mill Valley and lived on Throckmorton Avenue visiting what was then the (Mill Valley) Coffee Roastery on a daily basis.”
“This is an amazing return to our roots,” she added.
Russell and McDonnell say the Grand Opening event will be “replete with tastes and drinks from the new menu (and, of course, champagne).”
The owners says that the café will bear the fruits of tradition and innovation, offering everything from a classic menu of espresso-based drinks, batch-brewed drip coffee, and single origin pour-overs, as well an unusual lineup of soju-based cocktails that includes a Coconut White Russian, an “Irish Coffee,” and a Bloody Mary. A seasonal shandy, and treats like an old-fashioned Chocolate Egg Cream Soda will also feature on the menu. There will be a few renditions of the Shakerato—classic brown sugar and cream shaken with espresso—including an inventive iteration that incorporates almond butter and coconut milk. Beautiful and state-of-the-art brewing equipment rests on the copper countertops, soon to be grinding and extracting Equator’s rotating and seasonal selection of beans.
The food menu, available all day, will include a spread of house-made waffles with inclusions like ham and cheese or brie and avocado, as well as a play on the old school cinnamon roll. Salads will be available for takeaway or dine-in, served in jars that feature classic mixes like a Greek Salad, or a tender mix of quinoa and vegetables in a house vinaigrette. A good proportion of the menu is also gluten-free.
A spread of quiches and yogurt parfaits—including cherry pistachio, blueberry granola, and a vegan granola option—will also be available.
The café, designed by Boor Bridges Architecture, and built by local surfer and contractor, Dan Dafoe, distills an elegant and rustic mix of old and new. The café seeks to embody the town’s rustic and natural energy while expressing refined character. The palette includes salvaged redwood that points directly to Equator’s local roots,, concrete, plaster, and copper – an element reminiscent of Equator’s installation at Prooflab in Tam Junction.
At the center of Mill Valley, the café serves as a popular jumping off point for many local bike rides, and Equator nurtures a strong commitment to the Marin cycling community. To celebrate this special relationship, the outdoor bar will feature bicycle-inspired stools—including leather saddle seats—designed by Luigi Oldani. The final touches will take place on the outside bench and bar seating, which will feature parts of a railroad track dating back to 1915 and excavated off of Hwy 37. This steel is in tribute to the importance of the railroad in downtown Mill Valley’s history. The last passenger train rolled out of the Mill Valley Depot in 1940.