Off-Ramp | Off-Ramp host John Rabe and contributors share thoughts on arts, culture, and life in L.A.

Old Town's coffee scene gets smarter, with new Intelligentsia in Pasadena

I'm 44, not 4, but I'd love a big pasta bowl with a picture of a tiger on the bottom that I got to see when I finished my meal. I also loved the little sake cups my dad brought back from Occupied Japan with a geisha who appeared on the bottom when the sake was poured in. Which is why I like the cups at Intelligentsia Coffee .. finish your coffee and you feel like a star.

surprise inside

Today (Wednesday), Intelligentsia opened another LA branch, this time at 55 East Colorado in Old Town, just a few doors down from the pawn shop (which has a very tempting old Porter-Cable electric planer in the window). By 1 p.m, about 200 customers had come in, which is why these guys are smiling.

brain trust

That's the handsome Kyle Glanville and Stephen Morrissey (not Morrissey Morrissey) of Intelligentsia flanking Matthew Poley, co-owner of Heirloom-LA caterering, which is doing the food for the new cafe. (Matthew is a fellow Detroiter. There's an Olde English D on the other side of that cap, which is glued to his head with egg whites.)

Glanville says they're planning to open a separate eating area in the basement, and he told me he'd like to make it a speakeasy with a secret knock. On his hopes for the cafe's future, Glanville gave some good Squid Ink to Amy Scattergood:

"Pasadena needs not just a communal morning hub; it needs an evening hub as well," said Kyle Glanville. "The architecture kicks a--*, the people kick a-- ... The Cheesecake Factory has a line around the block," said Glanville, admittedly mystified. "We're not creating this 2,000-square-foot space just to do business between 8 and 10 a.m."

*Rabe edits 

(Photos: John Rabe)