San Fernando Valley residents Susan and Chanho Park purchased from longtime owner Cindy Ginter in December 2011.
These days, the couple spends the majority of their time over on this side of town. Their daughters—Christina and Jennifer—whom you'll often see working behind the counter, live nearby in Highland Park.
Patch got together with the newish owners to find out what they like most about South Pas and how they've been changing things up at the neighborhood coffee shop.
Patch: Why did you buy Kaldi? What do you like about South Pas?
Susan Park: Both of us, especially my husband, are devoted coffee enthusiasts. We always dreamed of owning a coffeehouse, but the timing was never right— that is, until last year when we decided we would take the plunge.
We immediately fell in love with Kaldi and the surrounding neighborhood. South Pas has a small-town feel that's so rare these days. We've lived in the San Fernando Valley for close to 30 years without getting that sense of community.
I love seeing people gather for events like the art crawl or farmer's market. On top of that, it's very green.
Patch: Tell me about your backgrounds. Do you own other coffee shops?
SP: My husband was a banker for many years before retiring last year. I am a paralegal and work two days a week at a law office. We don't own other coffee shops, but you never know—if all goes well, Kaldi could expand in the future.
Patch: Kaldi is quite the South Pas staple. Did that make you nervous when purchasing the place?
SP: From the beginning we were sensitive to the fact that Kaldi is nothing if not a community institution. There are many long-time regulars and we wanted to make sure the transition was smooth.
Our immediate priority was on improving the quality of the coffee and customer service, which we figured would be a welcome change for everyone.
Patch: Have you changed anything/do you plan to change anything at Kaldi?
SP: We changed our coffee bean supplier and added some new drinks and sandwiches including paninis. We also brought back Open Mic night, which had been on hiatus for awhile. More changes will come over time as we learn what our customers like.
Patch: What's you favorite menu item?
SP: My husband has taken a liking to the Turbo Dr. Pepper, which is Dr. Pepper with a shot of espresso and a splash of vanilla syrup. I have to say I like the regular old latte best, though I never say no to a Root Beer Freeze. The lemon ginseng iced tea (SporTea) is also very refreshing.
Patch: What's the most popular menu item?
SP: The most popular item is our house coffee, with lattes coming in at a close second. The sea salt caramel latte, a new menu item, is very popular—especially the iced version now that the weather's getting warmer.
Patch Asks: Have you been to Kaldi recently? What do you think of the changes?