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Coffee & Tea 5

El Cerrito - Central Perk Opens - Coffee, dessert & 1000 Jack in the Boxes

rworange | Mar 15, 2006 12:21 AM

The type of Jack in the Box that is a toy, not a burger.

I've been watching the progress of this new coffee shop that opened today on the corner of San Pablo and Central Avenues. It is across the street from Nations and Burger King and a few doors down from Shutter Cafe. Near the El Cerrito Plaza.

It is currently barely open for food. It is the most amazing collectibles shop I've ever seen. Literally, no exaggeration there are over 1000 different Jack in the Box toys available for sale. More about the collectibles part at the end which kept making my jaw drop ... litterly about the jaw dropping too.

Right now they are serving coffe, tea and pastries at reduced prices while they complete the shop. The coffee is Peerless, ah, forgot the tea, and some of the desserts are from Sugar Bowl.

Nice little mini chocolate cupcakes from Sugar Bowl. I had the cupcake and a large coffee for $1.10. Large coffee alone was 75 cents.

They plan to put in a coffee bar but haven't even found the contractor to do the work yet.

I never thought much of Peerless coffee, but the owner was really enthusiastic about it. She said they promised to deliver it within 3 hours of roasting.

They plan to have 35 varieties of Peerless available with coffee tasting. Also, all 35 varieties will be available to order by the cup since they will grind beans to order ... Not like Starbucks or Peets that only feature a few varieties every day.

They will also be having sandwiches, soups and salads. All of them provided by vendors and not made in-house. However, the owner says she found some terrific local vendors to provide the food and was telling me all about the delicous things she discovered and plans to serve after visiting the recent fancy food show in SF.

So no ETA on the food. For now it is just pastries, coffee and tea.

Oh yeah, they are planning to be open major hours ... like until midnight.

The store ... the store...

There are shelves on every wall of this large shop holding what has to be tens of thousands, if not over 100,000 collectibles and antiques.

This is where their passion lies. The way Chowhounds feel about food, these people feel about collectibles.

Ok, here's one of the times my jaws dropped. This is their first store. All of this stuff was things they admired and appreciated and collected over the years. That's passion.

SO the seats are scattered around the store. You can find a couch to settle into and drink your coffee. Or choose one of the plastic bright orange plastic fast food booths, or maybe an old-fashioned kitchen table.

The husband has an interest in, I think it was 1980's lamps, and collected a couple hunderd of them ... all displayed. There's everything from an aluminum christmas tree to a huge purple stuffed head of Barney the dinasaur. Incredible toy collection.

There is nice glassware and all sorts of things ... more than I could take in at one sitting. They were still stocking the shelves.

I loved when the wife looked lovingly at the bobble head collection and said that they were organzined by category ... at least her definition of how they should be organized. Very nice people and the passion about the merchandise is contageous.

Anyway, it is open. More food to come.

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