A new location could mean new life for Café del Soul.
The organic café plans to open on Fourth Street in San Rafael in April in the former location of Café du Cirque, which shut its doors last month.
Café del Soul Owner Chyna Honey said she's been incredibly busy, and is in the process of painting the walls and creating new menu boards. But she’s by no means complaining.
“After what we’ve been through this year, it’s a good kind of hectic,” she said.
Café del Soul, at 247 Shoreline Highway in Mill Valley, has suffered significantly since November when Honey called the health department on herself to report a cockroach infestation that others in the shopping plaza seemed reluctant to address.
“I highlighted what nobody wanted to highlight to get the problem solved,” Honey said.
But since then, business has taken a hit. She's been down by about 100 orders every day since the incident and is hoping the new location in San Rafael will help turn things around.
“It gives us a fresh start and something very positive to talk about,” Honey said.
She plans to open on April 1 at 1408 Fourth Street. It will seat about 20 people and will serve the same food as the Café del Soul in Mill Valley.
Honey said she was looking for locations around Marin, and was excited when the space became available.
“This place in particular couldn’t fit us any better,” she said. And the best part is the walls and floor are made of concrete, she added.
"Which is good because I know there's nothing underneath it," she said.
Opening a second location is something Honey has thought about since she started Café del Soul in July 2004. Over the summer she spent an extended amount of time in England helping a friend set up a new business, and intended to start the process of opening a second location for her café when she returned in the fall.
But, most of her time went into dealing with a five-month cockroach problem that had gone unchecked. Honey’s approach of notifying the health department resulted in quick action – along with media attention from outlets across Marin and San Francisco. The café, along with the Chinese restaurant May Lee, and Starbucks were successfully exterminated and reopened less than a week later, but many customers still haven’t returned.
“People heard ‘cockroaches’ and ‘closed’ and never heard anything else,” Honey said. “So what we saw was a dramatic drop in volume.”
Café del Soul has been using their Facebook page to let people know they’re open, and hopes the word continues to spread.
“I think,” she said, “that the Fourth Street store will really help us in that regard.”
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