Oakland’s Grand Avenue has a new combined coffee bar and upscale gallery called Monkey Forest Road that's leaving Chowhounds wondering if this business formula can succeed. As a café that's large and airy, Monkey Forest seems to be doing fine. “I had a Verve cappuccino (a holiday blend) and orange-cranberry scone, baked in-house,” abstractpoet reports. “Both were pretty tasty and priced similarly to other boutique coffee shops.” On the other hand, the “Zen-minimalist” design and displays of expensive art and furniture “with an emphasis on Southeast Asia (Bali, specifically)” seem to abstractpoet like “a great way to flush several million dollars down the toilet.”
moto agrees that that's a distinct possibility. “It wouldn't surprise any of us who've seen the small retail shops in the area turn over if Monkey Forest didn't stay around long,” moto says. Still, moto points out, “the money they make selling one piece of furniture, art, or set of tea ware could be the equivalent of their net from weeks of sales of the bev + food” since “vending food and bev for [less than] $10 per customer in a place that's inviting for people to linger is a very tough way to pay the rent and bills.” In other words: It’s anyone’s guess whether Monkey Forest can pull it off.
Monkey Forest Road [East Bay]
3265 Grand Avenue, Oakland