Four Barrel Opens a Café in Portola


The new Four Barrel building in Portola. Photo: ©


The beautiful curved wood ceiling. Photo: ©


The coffee cart inside. Photo courtesy of Jeremy Tooker.

Last week I trucked over to Portola to check out the new ~FOUR BARREL COFFEE~ location that just opened over the weekend (in case you’re wondering where that is, it’s near the Silver Avenue exit off the 101). It’s a cool location that’s a cul-de-sac of sorts (the street, Burrows, abuts the freeway). Owner Jeremy Tooker was approached by the Portola (say “PORT-oh-lah”—Tooker was quickly schooled on the preferred pronunciation) neighborhood association to open the café, and he has a lot of plans for the space, including putting solar panels on the roof, installing a compost toilet, and eventually hopes to get off the grid completely. (He also wants to do a big cleanup of the area flanking the building, but needs Caltrans on board first.)

The garage-like space is pretty industrial, except for the eye-catching ceiling (by Roman Hunt) made from curved pieces of wood reclaimed from an old pipeline that transported water from Hetch Hetchy to turbines—the tree trunk-like circular pattern is quite beautiful. Lawrence LaBianca did some cool metalwork, like the sliding screen inside and the greenhouse-like awning. Since the area was a greenhouse district, look for some design references in the future.

For now, the café has temporary carts for the espresso machine inside, and there’s a pour-over bar and coffee brewer. There are some standing bars with a few seats inside; outdoor seating will be coming soon (there’s a little outdoor park in development, and there will be sidewalk seating). There will be pastries from Neighbor to start as well. Hours are 7am-4pm daily. 1 Burrows St. at San Bruno.