Gaylord's Caffe Espresso
Perhaps only in the Bay Area could a local coffee shop sharing the street with a Starbucks thrive. For all intents and purposes, Gaylords is the only cafe on Piedmont Avenue. "The GAY," as I like to call it (though not because it seems that the majority of staff are queer- as are many of us patrons), is not a simple coffee shop. It is a "3rd Place" where EMT and OPD crews come to pick up a coffee mid-shift, local celebrities and work-from-homes share their morning coffee with friends and read the paper, and students hunker down to cram for whatever test their classes at Mills or Berkeley are giving. Nearly free Wi-Fi ($1 per visit) makes that easier. For many, including me, it is the more public extension of our own living rooms or offices. The remodeled space is sleek and minimalist, but just as cozy and unpretentious as before with great people-watching. Their drink menu is typical, offering all kinds of espresso and non-espresso drinks. They sure know how to foam their milk (or soymilk) properly. They have delectable smoothies, Double Rainbow Ice Cream, bagels, pastries and even Vegan donuts and a lunch-type menu with fresh Acme bread sandwiches. Every neighborhood should have a Gaylord's.