Ged Robertson has spent the bulk of his time and attention since he bought Shoreline Coffee Shop in 2011 on admittedly “un-sexy” work: updating the “bones” of one of the oldest restaurants in southern Marin.

That meant new infrastructure, new kitchen equipment, a new HVAC system, new plumbing and electrical systems, a new ADA-compliant bathroom, a modest but much-needed patio. But with much of that heavy lifting in the rearview mirror in 2015, Robertson set his sights on a less structural but still vital component of the restaurant.

“It was time to to give the Shoreline Coffee Shop an identity, its unique signature,” he says of his decision to revamp the 53-year-old restaurant’s branding and signage. “It had to represent what we are doing now with organics and using local farms, but also be true to the time period and the authentic place that has been enjoyed by our community since 1962.”

Robertson reached out to widely known designer Robert Van Horne, whose work for restaurants like Molina, which Robertson co-owns, and San Francisco stalwarts like Delfina, Locanda and Tosca Cafe has drawn acclaim.  

In a serendipitous twist, Van Horne directed Robertson to a man he already knew, but not for his work: Mill Valley resident James Van Kriedt

“I was immediately energized by James’ passion, his detail for authenticity in typography and the love for his craft was very refreshing,” Robertson says. “We quickly aligned on vision and landed on colors of our turquoise coffee mugs and our coffee shop hot sauce. The rest was back at his studio.”

“I’d driven by the place for years and was very excited when I got the call to contribute to this community gem,” Vam Kriedt says. “Researching vintage menus and matchbooks led to the visual solution which features appropriate colors, textures and typefaces. Including hand drawn illustrations, inspired by those of that time period, adds a touch of modernism and character that really allow the brand to stand on its own today. This was a very fun project, and it being in Mill Valley was a bonus for me to also enjoy it.”

Robertson, one of the major investors in the Sweetwater Music Hall whose popular downtown restaurant Small Shed Flatbreads morphed into Molina from chef Todd Shoberg in 2014, bought Shoreline in late 2011 from Tam Valley resident and longtime owner Santiago Ojeda. Robertson shifted the menu with an eye on local and organic ingredients like eggs from Woolly Egg Ranch on Tennessee Valley Road and bread from Green Gulch Farm off Hwy. 1.

What do you think of Shoreline Coffee Shop’s new look?

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