You know what’s the best? Driving around in the city and passing by a brand new place you’ve never heard of but KNOW you need to try immediately. Or as soon as possible. Whatever works.
This happened to me in the Potrero area, where, far out enough, eateries to try can be sparse, but where what does exist can be awesome. (See: Plow.) Tootling along near 17th and Mississippi, I passed what looked like an open garage with people sitting at tables in front of it, socializing and drinking coffee. I thought, “Oh, a very small party?” and then realized that this establishment was some type of cafe. Cue the Yelping as soon as I got home. The place I was looking for was Front Cafe.
Front Cafe specializes in drip coffee, and when I did get a chance to visit the next day, I (and my group) sampled a couple varieties. The drink menu is small – two choices of regular coffee, or you can get espresso on its own or with milk. They will make you a latte if you ask. There was affogato (!!!), which is made with Mr. and Mrs. Miscellaneous ice cream and which I desperately wanted, but it was 9am and I restrained myself. I went with the cold brew. This iced beverage comes served in a mason jar (even to go!) and with a single giant cube of hand-cut ice. A+ for presentation! The iced coffee was fairly strong, and there was an interesting, almost herbal flavor to it. I’m not really a hard-core coffee connoisseur (it makes me jittery, I admit), and so I seasoned my coffee with plenty of milk and simple syrup at the counter. That’s a personal preference of course. The coffee was good, but that “uniqueness” I was tasting wasn’t exactly something I’d go back for.
The regular coffee was similarly strong, but the latte was delicious. Those come in very small to-go cups. For the amount that you get there, prices seem a little steep. Also pricy was the pistachio croissant (because I couldn’t leave without tasting the food) at $4.25. The croissant was tasty; along with the pistachio filling it also had something maybe raspberry-y going on inside. Most of the pastries were croissants. There was also a passionfruit bun that looked interesting.
Overall: As for me, myself, personally, I probably wouldn’t make special efforts to stop by Front, but that’s because, as I mentioned, I don’t think I can fully appreciate the whole artisan coffee deal and the food here is not a tremendous draw. BUT. If I was in the area, I’d definitely bring someone here. To hang out at the tables on a nice-ish San Francisco day, to take in the awesome atmosphere that a cafe stationed inside a repurposed loading dock offers. To drink iced coffee out of a mason jar. You know me by now, right? I love a cute touch, a sparkle of personality. Front Cafe is worth a visit.
Front Cafe. 150 Mississippi St. 415.701.9700