Milk SF, a queer-owned cafe dedicated to inclusivity and innovative coffee, is headed to San Francisco's Mission District.
Co-owners and partners Katey McKee and Sharon Ratton are behind the cafe, at 302 Valencia St., located next-door to McKee's hair salon Glama-Rama. They want Milk to be a neighborhood hub for nitro coffee and pastries as much as local art, drag shows and belonging for the queer community.
"Like most people after the pandemic we're just really wanting some community, and cafes have historically always been that," Ratton said.
Milk won't have an espresso machine at the counter, and that's on purpose. The cafe will serve nitro lattes (coffee infused with nitrogen gas) and coffee made in a batch brewer from Ground Control . The Oakland company's machine works like a vacuum-powered siphon that fully immerses the coffee grounds and keeps the water temperature steady as it brews, yielding, McKee and Ratton said, a superior, more consistent cup of coffee.
Ground Control's machine, whose cost for cafes starts at $150 per month, is still a unique offering though it's picking up steam in the Bay Area coffee world, where pour-overs and high-end espresso machines dominate.
"Because of the process you're able to get the full flavor without any of the acidity or bitterness that you usually get with coffee," Ratton said.
All the beans will come from Highwire Coffee Roasters in Oakland. They plan to serve flavored coffee drinks from two nitro machine taps, like a bourbon burnt caramel banana iced latte or Sichuan peppercorn rose iced latte. There will also be milk tea with boba made in house and other tea drinks.
Chef Justin Belluomini (and Ratton's longtime close friend), who previously cooked at San Francisco restaurants including Zuni Cafe, is developing Milk's food menu. Think casual, all-day fare like a breakfast biscuit sandwich, French toast and a vegan farro bowl with shaved asparagus, peas and other veggies. Milk will also serve gluten-free pastries from San Francisco's Wholesome Bakery. The owners plan to have plenty of options for different dietary restrictions, from vegan to vegetarian. Later this summer, look for seasonal specials like shaved ice and frozen yogurt. Customers will be able to eat and drink inside, under a staircase with a rainbow-colored railing, or outside on a parklet.
McKee and Ratton hope to secure a liquor license soon to be able to serve beer and wine at events in the evenings. But part of the driving force for Milk was to create a space for the queer community that's not a bar or late-night club and that's open to all ages and gender identities. While San Francisco has a vibrant queer nightlife scene, beyond Castro restaurants that serve brunch and are more male-oriented, McKee and Ratton said they were hardpressed to think of a queer-focused place to spend time during the day.
Milk's walls will double as a live, rotating art exhibit, featuring photographs by Gooch, a San Francisco artist who documents LGBTQ+ communities, and Jason Mecier's large celebrity portraits made from upcycled trash. The owners plan to host art shows in the evening and a monthly drag show but also want to open the space up to use by the community. They'll be partnering with Pride Places, a New San Francisco company that connects customers with the LGBTQ-owned and friendly companies.
"We wanted to make sure queer spaces existed after so many businesses closed due to Covid — a safe and special space for the community and for allies to be together after such a long isolation," the owners said in an opening announcement.
They named the cafe after Harvey Milk, the pioneering San Francisco civil rights leader and first openly gay elected official in California. But they want Milk to be an all-inclusive space.
"It's not that we want to have a cafe that's only for that community," Ratton said. "It's more about having a place where everyone is accepted and you don't have to think twice."
Milk will have a soft opening this Saturday, June 26, which is Pink Saturday — a street party usually held the Saturday night before San Francisco's Pride celebration. The café will officially open on July 1.
Milk SF. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. 302 Valencia St., San Francisco. instagram.com/milk.sf
Elena Kadvany is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: [email protected]
- The Bristol cafes serving the strongest coffee
- Turkish libraries to serve tea, coffee, remain open for 24 hours
- Cafés you must try for a coffee and cake pit stop
- How to make Turkish coffee: Recipe and history
- How the flat white conquered the coffee scene
- All the bars and restaurants that have opened here in 2018
- This Dundee cafe doesn’t have prices and instead of staff, it has volunteers. So how does it work?
- 10 high street and supermarket coffees, blind tasted: which got 10/10 and which got the thumbs down?
- Men Gawking at Naked Ladies Ruins Swedish 'Queer Day'
- ‘A bloke with a coffee van and a vision’
- Wake me up before you coco: Wham! star has coffee at Dundee cafe
- Coffee business closes 2nd shop 'to pursue other endeavours'
- Here's 10 places to visit for a great coffee in Leicester
- Meet The First Coffee Chain To Bin Disposable Cups Forever
- 'Upmarket social club' to open up in Yarm next month
- Café serves up free brews after huge blaze
- Dog cafe to open in Cork and we can’t contain our excitement
- Judge orders coffee sellers to put cancer warnings on their products over inclusion of carcinogen
- Coffee shop launched by church to help raise money for local charities
- Crowd-pleasing cafe opens doors in Rasen
An all-day queer cafe serving inventive coffee is opening in the Mission have 972 words, post on www.sfchronicle.com at June 17, 2021. This is cached page on Europe Breaking News. If you want remove this page, please contact us.