Local Design SF: The Summit Café

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Back when I spent my time as the ultimate freelancer, I was exhibit A at the local Mission café, sipping away on a cup of tea gone cold and crumbing up my periphery with half-munched pastries. I had on my list of requirements for an adopted workspace an offering of reliable wifi Internet, electric outlets to power my laptop, and a decent tea selection. Café culture is at a height in the Mission district, and those available outlets were hard to find, so I welcomed The Summit with arms outstretched. And I didn’t hesitate to contact proprietor Desi Danganan to find out how The Summit separates itself from the pack.

Enlisting designer Brent Kanbayashi, I/O Ventures and Desi Danganan of former Poleng restaurant and nightclub renown, the former New College site was reinvigorated with a gathering space that serves as a café and incubation space for the city’s tech start-ups. That’s right, on the other side of the café is prime office real estate with unlimited access to round-the-clock coffee service. The Summit brings the city’s esteemed Blue Bottle Coffee to the Mission and also operates as a neighborhood creative commons by inviting mixed-use development of art and technology.

Designed by the elusive Brent Kanbayashi (you will be hard pressed to find an online contact for this seasoned design talent), the open plan is divided into micro-environments with a reading lounge, communal work tables, and adjacent shared office for I/O Ventures’start-ups. The modern facility incorporates the original industrial shell and sweeping, slatted wall divider, setting the stage for its furnishings – a high/low combination of custom, locally-salvaged walnut and Carrera marble tables, Tolix Tabouret stools, and shesham wood tables from CB2.

Each month the magazine stand rotates a thematically-selected collection of vintage and current issues.

The menu offers loose-leaf teas and Blue Bottle coffee from the roaster’s own La Marzocco espresso machine.


Currently on the agenda at The Summit is a showing of mural art from Michael V. Rios. The Summit art openings are always jammed, so be sure to check out their online calendar for events.

The Summit is located at 780 Valencia St., San Francisco.

Photos: Architectural Black

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