After nearly 45 years, Mr. Espresso opens its first café


Mr. Espresso, an Oakland-based family business that has been roasting and distributing Italian-style oak wood-roasted coffee to Bay Area retailers, cafes and restaurants for nearly 45 years, announced the planned opening of its first cafe, The Caffè by Mr. Espresso, in May in downtown Oakland.

Mr. Espresso’s branded cafe and retail store will be on the ground floor of the new 18-story office tower, dubbed ‘The Key at 12th’, so named because the development incorporates the historic Key Systems Building, a national landmark, in design. The 1,200 square foot cafe will face Broadway and is a short walk from the 12th Street BART station. The development is a joint venture between Ellis Partners, a Northern California real estate investor and developer, and Intercontinental Real Estate Corporation. Caffè by Mr. Espresso is set to be the first commercial project to open at The Key at 12th.

The Key Systems Building dates back to 1911 and became the headquarters of the Key System Railway, which ferried East Bay residents locally and across the lower Bay Bridge to San Francisco in 1943. The building was closed in the aftermath of the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989. As part of the complete renovation project, the historic part is integrated into the office tower.

Both The Caffè by Mr. Espresso and The Key at 12th have successfully integrated history and modernity into their identity. When Carlo Di Ruocco founded M. Espresso in 1978 with his wife Marie Francoise, he relied on his knowledge of mechanics and electricity and his strong Italian heritage to bring Italian coffee culture to the Bay Area, selling espresso machines and producing distinctive coffee using traditional wood roasting. techniques. Le Caffè will stay true to Mr. Espresso’s Italian origins and strong Californian roots while catering to the preferences of the modern coffee drinker. Carlo’s sons, Luigi and John Di Ruocco, and daughter, Laurence “Laura” Zambrano, lead the new project, continuing in their parents’ footsteps.

“Like the Key, we are part of Oakland’s rich history,” says Luigi Di Ruocco, second-generation co-owner of Mr. Espresso. “We look forward to introducing our coffee to those who may not know that Mr. Espresso has been an Oakland-based roaster for nearly 45 years and to welcoming our longtime fans to our first physical space. We are honored to be part of the rejuvenation efforts that are transforming downtown Oakland and excited to bring our modern approach to the Italian caffè experience to the heart of downtown as workers and residents return to their routines.

Plans for The Caffè began in early 2020 but the opening was postponed for over a year due to the pandemic.

Will Miller, Partner and Director of Asset Management for Ellis Partners adds, “Like Ellis Partners, the Di Ruoccos have a deep and long-standing commitment to Oakland. We are delighted that The Caffè offers fantastic amenities for our tenants when they return to the 340,000 square feet of office space above The Caffè.

The news and information presented in this press release have not been corroborated by RSQFood News Media or Journalistic, Inc.


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