Réveille Coffee Company Truck

Réveille Coffee Company Truck

By Aaron Britt
I confess it, friends, despite growing up in a small hill town in Northern California, my four plus years of living in San Francisco have taken their toll. And now, like every other member of this town, I have developed a pair of crippling weaknesses. The siren song of fancy coffee and the Kryptonite of the latest food truck hold crippling sway over me, calling me near and breaking me down. Toss in a bit of industrial chic high design and I'm a sucker. Suffice it to say I've been to the Pacific Street parking spot of the new Réveille Coffee more than a couple times already.

Tommy Newbury (pictured) designed the Réveille logo, an abstraction of a sunrise. He and his brother Christopher had their first day on the truck in early December.

Check out that vanity plate, "REVCOF1."

Though it seems tight inside, Tommy claims he and his brother rarely bump into each other.

Tools of the trade.

The project of Marin County-born brothers, Réveille Coffee is the mobile caffeine unit Tommy and Christopher Newbury started in early December. They turned a former DHL delivery truck--Tommy showed me a spot where the blazing yellow paint is still visible--into a minimalist's dream.

Beyond the clean black and white of the design, the only splashes of color are the pink and blue of the companies logo--that's Tommy's design--and the teak counters affixed to the truck's side by San Francisco woodworker Jeff Burwell.

"We knew we wanted to use teak," said Tommy, "because we needed something that would stand up to the elements."

Though I'd expected Tommy, who I visited yesterday afternoon for a cup of drip, to pay some lip service to the exploding food cart culture here in the Bay Area, he pointed to a French denim maker as a point of departure.

"A lot of our inspiration came from APC," he told me. "I like that really simple color scheme."

Inside the truck, which is all gleaming metal and battened down barista gear, Tommy told me that despite the confining digs he and his brother rarely bump into each other when manning their posts.

"That's the part of the design that took the longest, the layout," he said. "Everything in here has to be super efficient"

The Réveille boys brew Four Barrel coffee and use Bodum Presso jars to store tips, and beans alike.

A rare thing indeed: a food cart with a tiny bit of physical infrastructure. Tommy said that during the summer he and his brother are thinking about painting the shed white.

Coffee and San Francisco!

The biggest design limitation came in the form of health codes. Tommy noted that he can't prepare food near the window, or place the generator precisely where he wanted to because of the state's rules and regulations.

"The only time I bump into my brother is when I have to get milk from out of the fridge," he said. "I wanted the milk to be under the espresso machine, but because of codes we had to put the generator there."

On nice days the brothers put out wooden stools from Design Within Reach in hopes of getting customers to linger, a tough task in winter. A small teak bar runs not only down one side of the truck, but around their one bit of permanent infrastructure--a black cinder block shed they use for storage. Tommy reports that when people linger outside the truck they're much more likely to stand at that bar on the storage shed as opposed to the one on the side of the truck.

If you're in San Francisco, stop in to Réveille Coffee in the parking lot on Pacific St. between Sansome and Battery. They'll brew you up a fine cup of Four Barrel coffee, and answer any questions you've got about their truck.

The Réveille Coffee Company's truck parked on Pacific Street in San Francisco.


Get the Dwell Newsletter

Be the first to see our latest home tours, design news, and more.