Dogtown Coffee – Santa Monica, California - Gastro Obscura

Dogtown Coffee

Grab a latte at the birthplace of modern American skateboarding.  

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When Jeff Ho, Skip Engblom, and Craig Stecyk opened Jeff Ho Surfboards and Zephyr Productions at the corner of Main and Bay in Santa Monica, they had no idea they would play a significant role in the progression of American skateboard culture.

Opened in 1971, the shop sold surfboards to the Dogtown locals who rode the waves around the abandoned Pacific Ocean Park. Skateboarding took a backseat to surfing until the Zephyr Team showed up at the 1975 Del Mar Nationals. The Z-Boys showed off an aggressive, surf-oriented style that confused their skateboarding elders, but ultimately took the sport in a completely new direction. Team members including Stacy Peralta, Tony Alva, Peggy Oki, and Jay Adams would go on to become some of the most influential skateboarders of all time. 

Although the Zephyr Team became wildly popular, most members left to start their own companies or to ride for more established companies. When Jeff Ho Surfboard and Zephyr Productions closed in 1977, another surf shop moved in and stuck around for over 20 years. 

In 2007, the building was set to be torn down to make way for condominiums. Local skaters and preservationists led the fight to save it. Ultimately, the city of Santa Monica decided to give the building landmark status, thus protecting it from demolition.

Since 2012, Dogtown Coffee has occupied the space. The coffee shop honors its legacy through murals and original Zephyr surfboards, which hang suspended from the ceiling. Though the smell of polyurethane and fiberglass has been replaced by breakfast burritos and freshly ground beans, the history and importance of the site are still palpable.

Know Before You Go

The menu runs the gamut from standard espresso drinks to creations like a yerba mate latte and a cappuccino enhanced with chaga mushrooms and monk fruit.

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October 28, 2022

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