They started with a coffee cart and small business events. Kip had experience in the food and beverage industry. Bernard was a bartender. The third in the group, Ayo, was a photographer. But there weren’t a lot of coffeehouses in the area, so they opened Sidewalk Cafe at Woodbury and Los Robles, “where Pasadena and Altadena intersect at Hen’s Teeth Plaza.”
They get their beans locally from Alessandro Caffe, but roast them daily…”to learn, took a lot!” They serve local treats like The Holy Grail chocolate chip cookie and Cowgirl oatmeal from mondosmorsels.com. Eternal Gardens provides juice drinks. They have gluten free products, use almond and soy milk, and have açai smoothies or açai in a bowl with granola and bananas.
Owners Kip Rolfe, Bernard Parlta, and Ayo Anderson are always adding to the menu and the place they’ve created is open, yet cozy, and charming. We loved the pressed tin behind the bar and the 6-inch band of chalkboard runs along one wall, right at table height so young, restless minds can draw to their hearts delight (maybe after attending class at Eye ♥ Art).
A bookshelf constitutes their community library with the “take some, leave some” philosophy and Sidewalk hosts artist parties to announce new installations that keep their wall art ever-changing. They’ve also instigated Live @ the Loft (upstairs), which are open mike nights every 3rd Friday and are streamed live via Skype with, for example, poets from N.Y.C. “We want ‘em to keep coming back.”
Sidewalk Cafe is located in historic Hen’s Teeth Plaza, one of the first strip malls, though it hardly resembles the blandness of modern day mini malls. The terra cota roof tiles and large arched front windows give it a quaint feel, to which we felt drawn. It’s funky, fun, and historic. We like it.
2057 N. Los Robles Ave.
Hens Teeth Square, Pasadena 91104
Hours: Mon.-Fri., 6:30 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sat., 8 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sun. 8 a.m.-5 p.m.