“I don’t even know what neighborhood this is exactly, Fairfax?” Claire Ackad says. I wasn’t quite sure, either. The brand-new Coffee for Sasquatch, which Ackad owns, is on Melrose and La Brea, right by Pink’s Hot Dogs, and officially opened Sept. 29 — on National Coffee Day, no less.
The neighborhood isn’t exactly known for its plethora of pour-over options, but Sasquatch aims to change that.
It's a beautiful space with bright light, blond wood and marble countertops. All the furniture is imported from Stockholm, save for the tables, which were specially made to match. There are cakes on display with garnishes of crystallized blood orange and tropical flowers, and handmade vases holding a singular, perfect stem. Everything is Instagrammable. In an age where pictures are sometimes more satisfying than the actual taste experience, Ackad wanted the coffee to be good, too.
“We're working with Ritual Coffee [based in San Francisco] to make sure that everything is dialed in perfectly,” she says. (The Cubano took weeks to perfect.) Ritual is a female-led company, and Ackad says this was important to her in a coffee industry that's largely male-dominated.
Although her approach to a coffee concept is through the design lens, Ackad has done quite a bit of research into the beverage aspect. She started getting into coffee shops seriously about six years ago and began scouting different stores in New York and Spain for inspiration. When she and her husband moved back to L.A. from Europe, she knew she wasn't ready to put a creative project on hold just because they were expecting their first child. A coffee shop seemed like the perfect marriage of her design and beverage interests, Ackad says.
While living in New York City, she fell in love with the brand Dona Chai, which is now on offer at Sasquatch. Kilogram tea also is on the menu, in affogato-like concoctions called Tea-Gatos. A scoop of lemon berry McConnell’s ice cream swims in a pink hibiscus brew with notes of lemongrass and citrus; it’s unexpected, complex and refreshing. (The tea isn't super hot, unlike the espresso that's normally poured into affogato; the final combination manages to be cold and dessertlike.)
Ackad sources quiches and croissants from nearby La Tropézienne French bakery, which imports its butter from France. Perhaps the stars of the bakery case, however, are the cakes from the Insatiable More; the company is run by Ackad's friend Maggie Ryan. The inky black “midnight” cake is just-the-right-amount-of-bitter with cacao and is full-bodied with avocado and coconut flour. All cakes are gluten-free and vegan.
“It would be silly to have just a beautiful space and not have good coffee and pastries,” Ackad says. “I really wanted everything to be substantial.”
If all goes well, she hopes to expand to a location in New York.