San Diego’s coffee game has stepped up big time recently, and though I moved here only two-ish years ago, friends who’ve lived in San Diego their whole lives have noticed a change, too. The major players include Coffee & Tea Collective, Cafe Moto and Bird Rock Coffee Roasters, but there’s one hole-in-the-wall cafe worth adding to the list.
Meet Industrial Grind Coffee, a small-batch artisan roaster on Park Boulevard in Hillcrest. Owned by partners in work and life (and retired members of the Navy) Kathy and Barb, the cafe has an open-air layout with a front patio, cool back patio that’s designed with sauna-style wooden benches in stadium seating and fun details like benches decorated by each barista. Though that particular address on Park has operated as a coffee shop for about a decade, it wasn’t until four years ago when Kathy and Barb found it on Craigslist and—inspired by L.A.’s Intelligentsia—transformed it into its current form.
Since it’s just a 5-minute walk from my apartment, you’ll often find me there with Teddy (it’s a very dog-friendly cafe) and a cup of the Bettie blend, my favorite brew in the whole city. (I love that they offer an 8 oz. cup for just $1!) Customers also love their huge selection of gluten-free breads, but that’s not the only reason we all keep coming back. Industrial Grind feels like a home or someone’s backyard, and the staff is made up of some of the friendliest people in the city.
Take a look:
Each barista was tasked with designing a bench. On the left is a cyclist-loving barista’s ode to the two-wheeler with the phrase “just another perfect day,” while the bench on the right features a risqué Bettie Page…whose hair was colored with espresso!