Portola Coffee to open Downtown shop, marking second Long Beach location

After opening its first location beyond the Orange Curtain at East Long Beach’s LBX complex, Portola Coffee will open a second Long Beach location, this time in Downtown.

Set along the retail ground floor of the newly minted AMLI Park Broadway residential complex at the northwest corner of Pacific Avenue and Broadway, Portola will take over a 1,500-square-foot space along the Pacific Avenue stretch of the project. Park Broadway will offer a total of 6,000 square feet of retail space which, outside of Portola, has no confirmed tenants.

“We are hoping Portola will be ready by the end of the year—that would be ideal,” said Amanda Addy, the Community Manager at Park Broadway. “They have started to pull their permits for construction but have not yet begun their construction of the space, so it is hard to put a guarantee on a time stamp.”

Opening in Costa Mesa’s OC Mix complex in 2011—the same developers that oversaw the building of Long Beach Exchange—wife and husband team Christa and Jeff Duggan created what is arguably the first third-wave coffee shop to really make an impact behind the Orange Curtain. “Third-wave coffee” marks the move away from traditional European shops—which focus on rich, dark roasts coffee served simply—and the second-wave of coffee, marked by Starbucks’ seemingly endless concoction of flavors and offerings. Third-wave coffee focuses on lighter roasts that put the bean itself forward and usually heavily limit options.

“Long Beach is a big city with lots of people,” said Jeff. “We knew early on, one location was not going to be enough to properly serve the majority of the community.  This lease was signed prior to the LBX Hangar location in Long Beach which fortunately for us, has been a great success with the strongest opening of all our locations… The Downtown energy is different and being situated in a prominent, easy to access location was important. This is a perfect place to debut our first true Portola coffeehouse not part of a shared venue.”

The move marks a potential point of caffeinated saturation in the Downtown. Within a mile of Portola’s new location sits multiple third-wave coffeeshops—Recreational, Rose Park’s Downtown location, Cabinet, Cuppa Cuppa, Confidential Coffee, even corporatized third-wave joint Bluestone Lane—along with seven Starbucks and the long-running neighborhood staple that is the Birdcage Coffee House on Fourth Street just west of Pacific Avenue.

Either way, the Downtown will be well-caffeinated.

Brian Addison is a columnist and editor for the Long Beach Post. Reach him at [email protected] or on social media at FacebookTwitterInstagram, and LinkedIn.

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Brian Addison has been a writer, editor, and photographer for more than a decade, covering everything from food and culture to transportation and housing. In 2015, he was named Journalist of the Year by the Los Angeles Press Club and has since garnered 16 nominations and two additional wins for Best Political Commentary for his work at KCET and Best Blog for Longbeachize, a section of the Long Beach Post. Brian currently serves as a columnist and editor for the Long Beach Post.