Brendan P. Bartholomew/special to the s.f. examinerMayor David Canepa

Brendan P. Bartholomew/special to the s.f. examinerMayor David Canepa

A gratifying return to Daly City for Westlake Coffee Shop

The owners of Westlake Coffee Shop have celebrated their return to Daly City after a heartbreaking expulsion from their original home and a 10-month hiatus.

Owners Moon and Yoon Choi say they were forced to close the restaurant, which had operated in the Westlake Shopping Center for decades, when landlord Kimco Realty Corp. hit them with a $10,000-per-month rent increase.

In response, longtime customers rallied to the cafe’s cause, packing a City Council meeting and imploring the town’s elected officials to intervene. Although city leaders were unable to prevent the closure, they did help the Chois find a new location in the mixed-use Pacific Plaza development, adjacent to the Century 20 movie theater on Junipero Serra Boulevard.

During a May 2013 interview with The San Francisco Examiner, Moon Choi said that when he took ownership of the restaurant more than 30 years ago, attitudes toward Korean immigrants made it challenging for him to earn the community’s trust. However, the large turnout at a recent ribbon-cutting ceremony for the restaurant’s new location left little doubt that the Chois and their eatery have made a lot of friends in town.

The Chois’ daughter, Christina, credited current and former mayors David Canepa and Ray Buenaventura with going beyond the call of duty to help her parents’ business survive the upheaval and find a new home. Canepa praised City Manager Pat Martel for finding an appropriate space for the longtime local restaurant.

Martel noted that although Pacific Plaza has seen a lot of turnover, with businesses such as Starbucks and Jamba Juice coming and going, she felt Westlake Coffee Shop was a perfect fit, and likely to thrive there. Employees of Pacific Plaza tenants such as Kaiser Permanente and DeVry University had been clamoring for a cafe to patronize, she added.

The younger Choi said the entire restaurant’s staff has returned, with the exception of two employees who are unable to work due to health problems. There may be some new additions to the menu, but the old customer favorites — such as pancakes, waffles, burgers, milkshakes and Reuben sandwiches — remain. The prices have gone up by about 10 percent, but Choi noted that this is the restaurant’s first price increase in more than seven years.

Another change is in the hours of operation. The cafe will be open until 7:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, but in an effort to attract the nighttime weekend crowds, Westlake Coffee Shop will keep doors open until 9:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays on a trial basis.

Although staff and cuisine are largely unchanged, Christina Choi said her husband, architect Ethen Wood, designed a new interior that is clean and modern, yet pays tribute to traditional American diners.

Pacific Plaza’s property manager has been supportive and accommodating of the new tenants, she said.

“It’s the exact opposite of what we experienced with Kimco,” Christina Choi said.

During the ribbon-cutting celebration, Canepa asked Moon Choi how it felt to be back after being closed for 10 months.

“Ten months?” Moon Choi replied. “It felt like 10 years!”


Westlake Coffee Shop

1901 Junipero Serra Blvd., Suite D, Daly City

(650) 992-5110

westlakecoffeeshop.comBay Area NewsDaly CityMoon and Yoon ChoiPeninsulaWestlake Coffee Shop

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at

Just Posted

Mayor London Breed, pictured here at a May news conference, will be fined for unethical behavior by The City’s Ethics Commission. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Commission fines Mayor Breed over $22,000 for ethics violations

The San Francisco Ethics Commission will fine Mayor London Breed a reported… Continue reading

Salesforce Tower in San Francisco, which features a comprehensive water-recycling system, on July 30, 2021. Water recycling in office buildings is seen as a promising sustainability effort, as well as a smart hedge against rising costs and future shortages. (Jim Wilson/The New York Times)
Salesforce Tower is part of a nationwide water recycling trend: Here’s how it works

By Patrick Sisson New York Times When Salesforce Tower in San Francisco… Continue reading

Riders enjoyed a trip on a Powell Street cable car when service returned on Monday. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)</ins>
San Francisco’s cable cars return after 16-month absence

San Francisco’s cable cars are back, and they’re free for passengers to… Continue reading

Most Read