By CHRISTIAN MONTERROSA | Reporter
There were mixed feelings from the community when news broke that Alfred Coffee was coming to Palisades Village as the latest addition to the Caruso development.
Some were excited that the famous coffee chain was opening its 10th location in the Palisades, others were skeptical that we needed “another coffee shop.”
But for Alfred owner Joshua Zad, it was a dream come true. As a kid, he took countless visits to the Palisades as his father Sina Akhtarzad bought and built property, like the now infamous clock tower building on Monument Avenue.
“The Palisades has always been a special place for me growing up in LA,” Zad said in an exclusive interview with the Palisadian-Post. “It was really special being young and also aware of what was going on with that [project].”
Zad later spent his senior year in high school and freshman year in college delivering pizzas for his cousin’s restaurant, Tivoli Cafe, that has since closed and later reopened as Tratto.
When he ventured out into the world with his own business aspirations throughout Los Angeles, the Palisades kept a constant presence in his mind.
“The Palisades had always been on my radar, but I never really found anything that would fit my use,” he said. “But then the opportunity arose to open in such a high-profile development with such great location and so much character, that I think is very rare and held true to the promise of what they were going to deliver with the Village.
“I visited back in September when it first opened and was like, ‘How do I get in here?’”
Zad shared his main goal with this location is to integrate seamlessly into the rest of the development and into the community. He is confident the success he has had with his other locations will quickly translate into a Palisadian favorite and go-to location for everyone.
His initial focus will be to introduce the Alfred brand to those who have never tried it or been able to visit another location.
That goal will be well on its way starting Saturday, June 29, when he holds a soft opening in what used to be General Porpoise Doughnuts. Baristas will be serving free coffee and drinks from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The light-colored walls are illuminated by a wave shaped neon sign that reads “But First, Coffee.” Coffee tap handles read “Alfred” in bold letters under a pair of antlers as a shiny new espresso machine sits waiting to steam the signature drinks Alfred has become famous for.
“I think they’re going to like the consistency of our coffee, that’s something we really pride ourselves on and I think customer service goes hand in hand for us also,” Zad said.
“We’re really looking forward to getting to know our customers and getting to know what their quirks are and their orders and to be able to greet them everyday and get to know their names.”
The store, officially opening on July 1, will be up against some stiff competition, as everything from Starbucks for everyday drinkers to Caffe Luxxe for the enthusiast have rooted their grasp in the neighborhood.
But the many coffee shops in the area do not concern Zad. For him, it’s a sign that people really love what he is selling.
“For us, that means that there’s a demand for coffee,” he said. “I think the community here are all big coffee drinkers, so they’re used to having a lot of options. I think it’s better for us that we now have a large audience.”
That large audience has helped Zad gain 10 Alfred locations, start the “But First, Coffee” signature phrase that is now recognizable without even mentioning “Alfred,” and national recognition as the “beverage king of LA.”
Looking toward the future, Zad wants his caffeine-filled grasp to continue to take a hold on this city, with no interest in expanding outside of it for the time being.
“[Alfred] is going to continue expanding our footprint in Los Angeles This is our hometown, where Alfred was born,” Zad said. “A lot of opportunities arise to go out of LA or out of Southern California, but for us, the focus is going to be to continue enshrining ourselves as one with the LA coffee community.”