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Kreuzberg*CA - Euro Concept Strikes CA's Chord

A bit of diverse, artistic Berlin culture is brewing in San Luis Obisbo.

What makes Kreuzberg CA so intriguing is how its concept segues. From morning noshing over a syrupy Shel Silverstein plate and coffee to laptop lunches with an herby Jane Austen and to finally sliding into an eclectic evening where the menu serves up comfort with the likes of a Gertrude Stein paired with a beer.

If the menu yanks you back to your coed days studying literature, then Kreuzberg CA is your everything: bookstore/coffee shop/virtual office/live band venue.

The oddity of it all is what sells. Born of owner James Whitaker, this euro coffee shop experience was developed while James was working in Germany. The idea took flight in 2010 and is a booming success.

The restaurant takes cues from Kreuzberg, an artistic neighborhood in Berlin brimming with young college students, artists and musicians - all inspired by the freedom echoing from the not-solong-gone Berlin Wall.

“We’ve been extremely successful because we bring a nontraditional concept and big city flair to our community,” says Whitaker who modeled his restaurant after cafes he visited in Berlin. “In the same establishment you can order a cappuccino, work over wine and then close your laptop and have a few beers.”

Whitaker, a self-proclaimed book nerd, collects used books; hundreds line the walls and sell for a flat $4 rate.

There’s serious traction taking hold at Kreuzberg CA. Six months ago Whitaker grew out of his 2,400 square-foot location, upgrading to a 6,000 square-foot location. But growth into a bigger scene and operation meant stepping up their game.

“Every restaurant our size needs a good food distributor, ours is Jordano’s. They help us supply our growing food demands and have helped us move into the big leagues,” Whitaker says, who dubs the quirky euro-style coffee book store’s growth an “unbuckled ride.”

Kreuzberg CA has their sights set on expansion to neighborhoods that support the young student population in more California cities, but opening a Kreuzberg CA in Berlin is Whitaker’s ultimate ironic scheme.