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Cafe vendor chosen for Mitchell Park Library

Original post made on Feb 3, 2012

Palo Alto's quest to bring a cafe to the soon-to-be-completed Mitchell Park Library and Community Center has attracted an unusual amount of interest from the community.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, February 3, 2012, 8:55 AM

Comments (37)

Posted by M in Professorville
a resident of Professorville
on Feb 3, 2012 at 10:24 am

Coupa Cafe is a proven draw and the library sytem would benefit if it is chosen.


Posted by Elizabeth
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 3, 2012 at 10:48 am

I hadn't heard that a cafe was in the works! I think it's a brilliant idea.

As much as I love and respect Coupa Cafe, I cast my most-likely-non-influential vote for Ada's Cafe. What a great concept with heart! Hopefully the coffee and goodies will be as good as the mission and compassion!


Posted by CatMan
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 3, 2012 at 11:08 am

That's pretty cool. I will be very eager to get some coffee there.

The Palo Alto Family YMCA has several disabled people who work in various capacities around the facility. They do a great job, and they are so kind and courteous. Its been a privilege to get to know some of the people there over the years. I think being around these "special" people can help remind us of the blessing of kindness, compassion and respect between human beings and how its so easy to let it slip away in our so-called "normal" lives.

But, I love coffee and I'm excited for the big construction mess to turn into a functioning library too!


Posted by PA Mom
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 3, 2012 at 11:15 am

Ada's Cafe sounds like a fabulous choice! What a great concept: a non- profit that serves delicious food and provides training/jobs for the disabled. The City of PA should support this new concept in social entrepreneurship!


Posted by Tao
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 3, 2012 at 11:16 am

Ada's Cafe sounds like a great organization, but if they want my business they better make a spectacular cup of coffee and have great fresh pastries -- not stale and sickeningly sweet crap that's served in a lot of places. There are only three or four places in all of Palo Alto that make a tier one cappuccino. The rest of the places pretty much suck. Please visit the great coffee makers (Coupa is one of them) and learn from them. At least learn what great coffee tastes like. There's no chain that makes a tier one cappucino consistently. If you are lucky, Pete's Coffee with the right barista sometimes comes close.


Posted by paly parent
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 3, 2012 at 11:20 am

Tao - perhaps with that attitude, you should keep going to Coupa.


Posted by Tao
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 3, 2012 at 11:28 am

paly parent - There's no reason why Ada's Cafe cannot prepare coffee and food to high standards. That should be their bar. That's what we should expect. I look forward to sampling their coffee and food and hope to add another great coffee place to my list.


Posted by Another Paly parent
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Feb 3, 2012 at 11:39 am

Hooray for Ada's!! What a wonderful idea. The cafe at the old Discovery Museum in SJ was staffed by disabled people, who did a great job. I sincerely hope Ada's will NOT serve expensive coffee drinks and try to be like Coupa's. Why not good but fairly priced items? This is a public library, not Stanford Shopping Center. Forget the "tier one cappuccinos."


Posted by Teacher
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 3, 2012 at 12:09 pm

Ada's cafe is the way to go! Kathleen is amazing and so are the students who would work for her!


Posted by boondoggle
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 3, 2012 at 1:03 pm

Ah, so that's where all the bond money went. And I thought we were building a library!


Posted by Michelle
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 3, 2012 at 1:06 pm

If Tao thinks that Coupa is making tier-one anything, then s/he should have his standards reconsidered. Not only is their food expensive it is also not the best, not to mention its ownership.

I applaud the City for thinking outside the box. There is high probability is that Ada's is not going to make the best cup of coffee in town, but at least it will achieve the desirable social goal of employing people that have a difficult time getting jobs elsewhere. That in itself should be the reason that people should go to support Ada's.


Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 3, 2012 at 1:22 pm

I only hope that there will be a strong no eating/drinking policy in the library where the books, the tables and the computers are. The last thing we want are dirty library books, sticky tables and drinks/food spills on the computers, chairs and carpets.

People taking food into the library will be a big problem.


Posted by Olenka Villarreal
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 3, 2012 at 1:25 pm

Congratulations to the City, to Ada's and to all of us in Palo Alto who will soon benefit by having Ada's Cafe here!! Not only is this a vision long overdue, but Kathleen and her team are really putting the "community" into our new Community Center, by including our disabled population.

For those who have yet to sample Ada's menu of goodies, remember that (as a 1st timer!), Ada's won "People's Choice", "Team Spirit" and placed #2 for "Best Tasting" at this past year's P.A. Annual Chilli Cookoff!

See you at Ada's in the Fall!


Posted by svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Feb 3, 2012 at 1:28 pm

The vendor that is chosen for the library should guarantee to provide housing for their employees and no new net car trips into the city.


Posted by Charles Rudd
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Feb 3, 2012 at 1:49 pm

Svatoid, are you for real? Which cafe, restaurant or even business provides housing for its employees?? Certainly, this is a ridiculous request.

If you don't have any relevant to say, stay off these message boards please.

Congratulations to Ada's Cafe, a most wonderful new cafe model for our City!


Posted by svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Feb 3, 2012 at 2:02 pm

"Svatoid, are you for real? Which cafe, restaurant or even business provides housing for its employees?? Certainly, this is a ridiculous request."
This is a common request when Palo Alto deals with Stanford. The claim is that there is too much traffic in Palo Alto. One former councilmember stated that even one additional car trip into Palo alto is too many. If that is the case, then it is incumbent on every cafe, restaurant or even business to not add additional car trips into the city. After all, city council members would not lie to us, would they?

"If you don't have any relevant to say, stay off these message boards please."
Please do not lecture me on what I can say and where I can say it. You may not find my comments relevant--i do. End of story, Mr. Rudd.


Posted by choco
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Feb 3, 2012 at 3:23 pm

coupa is snooty.


Posted by Where have you been?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 3, 2012 at 3:59 pm

Boondoggle,

This facility will include after school day care, where have you been?
Heck we spent 1/2 million on 1 piece of art before the building was designed.


Posted by Disgusted
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 3, 2012 at 5:06 pm

Another massive waste of money. It will be less than two years and this building will not be utilized. While there may be some use of it by the homeless, it's only a matter of time that the operator starts asking for a subsidy, or it will threaten to close down.

Another pie-in-the-sky, redistribute-the-wealth disaster, brought to you by the government of Palo Alto.


Posted by Nancy
a resident of Meadow Park
on Feb 3, 2012 at 5:49 pm

Oh, disgusted,
Don't add more evidence to our Shallow Alto moniker...


Posted by rem
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 3, 2012 at 5:51 pm

rem is a registered user.

I cast my vote for Ada's Cafe.


Posted by Jim Phillips
a resident of Greendell/Walnut Grove
on Feb 3, 2012 at 6:08 pm

I'm not familiar with Ada's Cafe either, but I really like the concept! Hope this works out...


Posted by Jim
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 3, 2012 at 6:41 pm

"Another massive waste of money. It will be less than two years and this building will not be utilized. While there may be some use of it by the homeless, it's only a matter of time that the operator starts asking for a subsidy, or it will threaten to close down.

Another pie-in-the-sky, redistribute-the-wealth disaster, brought to you by the government of Palo Alto."

Disgusted, I completely agree with you. This is so typical of Palo Alto...bleed from the heart, agree to to be agreeable, especially for the disadvantaged, then spend our city funds forever on such feel-good projects. In the meantime, we are being asked to float a new bond issue for infrastructure. Sad.


Posted by Emily
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 3, 2012 at 7:27 pm

I for one, am looking forward to Ada's and will buy coffee and pastries there BECAUSE it promotes the inclusion and employment of disabled adults. I wish there were even more places like this!

If it's not the best coffee or baked good I ever had, that's fine with me. Some things are much more imprtant than one's immediate gratification. I'm saddened to read that anyone here chooses to focus on their own fickle, foodie standards for coffee instead of the opportunity this provides for the disabled AND the abled in our community to engage.

I applaud Ada's and look forward to patronizing it.


Posted by Alan
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 3, 2012 at 7:29 pm

Whoever the vendor, bring high-quality coffee (Peet's is my choice) and locally baked high-quality pastries. Support local business too.


Posted by village
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 3, 2012 at 8:17 pm

This should be run by the community. Girl scout cookies & lemonade!


Posted by neighbor
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Feb 3, 2012 at 9:47 pm

Disgusted --

Rather than rush to judgement, why not find out more about the business model? Vendors in these situations often pay some type of rent, which means it does not cost the taxpayers and provides a benefit for all. Food and drinks are not allowed in the library areas with books, but rather provides a gathering place and a place to relax a bit (not easily accomplished with digital media). May even encourage more frequent trips to the library.


Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 4, 2012 at 8:50 am

Thinking about this I have been wondering who will use such a cafe?

I myself do my library trips fairly quickly as part of a run of errands. I initially doubted I would buy anything here. Thinking about it some more, I think it is less likely that the library crowd will use this and more likely the tennis, Little League, soccer, dogwalkers, after school kids hangout, joggers and lunch time crowd who will use it.

As a result, the vendor should not be fixed on library opening hours for opening this cafe, but on times when the park is more likely to be filled with people.

The Little League snack stand will be its only competition and they may suffer in return.


Posted by Jenny
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 4, 2012 at 12:24 pm

Great, if they make a profit but like so many feel good non-profits around Palo Alto they'll expect a subsidized rent from the utility users of Palo Alto when they start loosing money.


Posted by Frank
a resident of another community
on Feb 4, 2012 at 3:31 pm

Why is this such a big deal? The three story library in the small city I reside in has a wonderful cafe owned by a nice Thai gentleman. Sandwiches, soups, salads, bagels, etc. are on the menu. People enjoy the atmosphere and do their wi-fi thing while they are nourished. It was incorporated into the lobby of the library when it was constructed. No lengthy discussions or arguments.


Posted by Go Ada's!
a resident of The Greenhouse
on Feb 4, 2012 at 3:44 pm

I would be happy to spend money at Ada's. It's good for everyone, and a great example of inclusion for our children.

I will not support Coupa; poor customer service.


Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 4, 2012 at 4:17 pm

The most surprising thing about this story is that they say "soon-to-be-completed" library. Every time I look at it it seems minimal progress has been made. Does anyone know the target opening date for the library?

Other structures in the area that started construction around the same time are complete or near complete.


Posted by A mom from Palo Alto
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 5, 2012 at 12:37 am

Ada's is planning on being open from 7 a.m. until 9 p.m. on weekdays and 11 p.m. on weekends so visitors to the park, the library, community center, the teen center, local schools and neighbors from all around can benefit from a business that serves great food and does a great service by showing that inclusion can work.


Posted by Olenka Villarreal
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 5, 2012 at 11:11 am

For those who wonder about the quality of Ada's, rest assured that you and your kids will LOVE it! As one of Kathleen's friends, I was in awe when I read the thorough business plan she submitted to the City. Environmentally-friendly materials for the interior and an (organic) selection of goodies will delight parents, kids and all who visit. This is not-for-profit venture, but a true labor of love. Ada's will provide a much-needed service to train the many in our community who have been forgotten. Bless her generous heart and visit Ada's first, and then come back and re-post your comment. Go Ada's!!


Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Feb 5, 2012 at 12:47 pm

I'm all for the coffee at the Library. Hope they will also have Wi-Fi, Music room, DVD rentals, etc. Maybe a volunteer tutoring service for homework help?

Would you rather have your kids hang out at the Library after school or at Starbuck's? Right now they're at Starbuck's.


Posted by Kathleen Foley-Hughes
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Feb 5, 2012 at 1:45 pm

Thank you to all of you for posting comments, both positive and not-so-positive. Knowing the concerns of everyone is really helpful as we move forward. Ada's will indeed be open for many hours, 7 days a week, and will serve delicious house-made baked goods, fresh soups, salads, hot & cold sandwiches, treats for toddlers, teens and everyone else including smoothies, frozen yogurt and other specialties. Our coffee and tea drinks will be comparable to all the popular establishments that you know and love. We will be a real business that also happens to have a mission to provide jobs and training for disabled adults, coupled with internship and community service hours for teens who want to learn first-hand about a social benefit businesses. We are confident that Ada's will be a healthy place for teenagers to enjoy some down time with acoustic music and other programs on weekend nights.
I am honored to live here and am so happy to be bringing Ada's to our community. My goal is to make all of you proud of the City's decision.
Thanks!

Kathleen Foley-Hughes,
Founder and Executive DIrector
Ada's Cafe and Catering
[email protected]


Posted by neighbor
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Feb 6, 2012 at 10:58 am

Kathleen -- I'm thrilled, and will definitely be a customer!


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