Having solidified her status as one of San Diego’s craft coffee pioneers, Communal Coffee founder Jen Byard is excited to debut the second iteration of her famed café – an outdoor café and community space.
Transforming a long-vacant lot at 2221 Fern Street in the charming neighborhood of South Park, Communal Coffee’s 2000-square-foot space is at once aspirational and accessible, offering a community-centric approach to the typical cafe experience. A grand opening celebration is planned during the neighborhood’s quarterly Walkabout series on Saturday, March 17, at 6:00 p.m. Open to the public, the event will feature a pop-up collaboration with The Rose Wine Bar, a life-sized donut wall, and complementary coffee, bites, and raffle prizes for attendees.
Coffee + Flowers Sprouts in North Park
A local entrepreneur with a knack for fostering like-minded communities, Jen Byard made her mark in San Diego jumpstarting such endeavors as the Maker’s Arcade Fair, Urban Craft Camp, and children’s clothing line Thread & Arrow. Wanting to create a more permanent gathering place, Jen launched her first hospitality endeavor, Communal Coffee, and with it, sparked a revitalization of a long-desolate stretch of University Avenue between Hillcrest and North Park. Blending experiential retail elements with an innate desire to create a space that benefits the surrounding neighborhood, Communal Coffee’s flagship location has become a destination for both coffee connoisseurs and design enthusiasts alike, seamlessly blending a café with a retail shop and in-house floral bar, a collaboration from local florist Native Poppy. Partnering with famed San Francisco roaster Sightglass Coffee, Communal Coffee extensive menu of brews and creative lattes, paired with original toast flights and baked goods, has earned it a permanent place in the lexicon of favored cafés in the city.
Turning her attention to her own neighborhood of South Park, where she lives with her husband and three sons, Jen secured the lease to a long-vacant lot on Fern Street, and she set about expanding her Communal Coffee brand with the same ethos that has guided her throughout her career: to create usable, friendly spaces that foster connections and better the community.
Quote from Jen Byard, Owner, Communal Coffee:
“It’s my hope that Communal Coffee South Park will become a welcoming, accessible, and kind addition to the neighborhood. As a long-time resident of South Park, I’m so excited to give back to the community with a new space to call their own.”
Roast of the Town
Entering Communal Coffee’s newest location on Fern Street is like setting foot in a design-savvy bohemian hideaway, with trailing vines, intricate tiles, and scattered seating reminiscent of a whimsical secret garden. Delicate plants and budding florals weave their way through the border fencing to create a space that feels tucked away despite its central location on a bustling thoroughfare. Jen approached the space with a similar design ethos to that of her original North Park café: utilizing organic elements, vintage textures, and high-design accents to create an approachable, welcoming space.
Anchoring the 2,000-square-foot space, a vintage 1959 Shasta Trailer, painstakingly restored by Jen and her husband, houses Communal Coffee’s custom La Marzocco espresso machine, brewing up a range of coffee, from single origin espresso to signature lattes such as the lavender honey, vanilla bean, and rose vanilla. Caffeine-free sippers include a house-made sparkling lavender lemonade and watermelon kiefer. Communal Coffee South Park continues to serve San Francisco roaster Sightglass Coffee, with a special collaboration roast expected to hit the trailer in a few weeks. The roast will be served as the main house blend and will be available to purchase in whole bean format. An assortment of baked goods and pastries from local purveyors including Nomad Donuts, among others, with lunch items such as sandwiches and salads set to debut late spring.
Expanding upon Jen’s personal ethos of creating multi-purpose spaces, Communal Coffee South Park will include an on-site retail component with branded merchandise, coffee brewing equipment, and assorted housewares, while a floral cart stocked by local florist Native Poppy will sell bouquets and fresh stems. Looking to engage the community and provide locals with a gathering place beyond the coffee house, Jen created a stage to be used both during and after business hours. Inlayed with vibrant handmade Tulum tiles, the stage will offer a host of programs throughout the year, including live music, special performances, and movie nights. Communal Coffee with be open Monday through Sunday from 6:30 a.m. – 5:30. For more information, follow @communalcoffee on Instagram and Facebook.