In 1957, Gianni Buonano and Lino Meorin established the Caffe Mediterraneum at 2475 Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley, California. It was only the second coffee house in the San Francisco Bay Area serving traditional Italian espresso, and the very first in the East Bay. Only the Caffe Trieste in San Francisco's North Beach, which is still in operation, was older.
For almost 60 years until it finally closed in 2016, "The Med", as it was affectionately known to its denizens, functioned not only as a coffee house but as a neighborhood meeting place for all sorts of people: students, families, poets, artists, philosophers, and all of the other assorted colorful characters who inhabit a university town like Berkeley. Until late at night its tables were filled with people discussing art, philosophy, and politics. It was an exciting and vibrant scene.
I worked as a barista at The Med in the mid-1970s, and I've always missed the old place. The Caffe Mediterraneum in Palo Alto is my attempt at an homage, a salute to the old Med.
It is, of course, impossible to recreate the original Med; it was very specific to a certain time and place, and it cannot be recreated. However, I hope that our coffee is as good as what we used to serve, and I want the new Med to be what the old Med was: a place where anyone can come and enjoy a really great cup of coffee with their friends.