Lily Lai opened Revere in late June. The space previously housed boba shop Comebuy Drinks and before that, a second outpost of Menlo Park's Cafe Zoe.
The newly opened Revere Coffee and Tea in Redwood City. Photo by Elena Kadvany.
A San Francisco native, Lai recently left the corporate world to start more creative businesses: first, a design and remodeling company, then a traveling specialty drinks truck that serves boba, frappes, smoothies and espresso.
Next, she thought she would open a dessert shop inspired by establishments in China and Korea that encourage late-night socializing over sweets and tea. She decided to add coffee to her concept but wanted tea to have equal footing rather than be a "sideshow."
Revere serves Blue Willow Tea from Berkeley and espresso drinks from Sightglass Coffee. The tea is served in a glass kettle to preserve quality and encourage in-person lingering.
Six flavors of Three Twins Ice Cream -- vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, mocha, mint and lemon cookie -- are available by the scoop or in an affogato.
And yes, there's toast, topped with your choice of avocado, hummus or jam. There’s also "cocosins" toast with coconut milk, butter and cinnamon.
The "general theme," Lai said, is letting high-quality ingredients shine and "doing the basics really, really well."
Down the line, Lai plans to partner with local pastry chefs to serve baked goods, feature local artists and offer the cafe as an event venue. She hopes Revere will be a community-minded gathering space rather than a grab-and-go cafe.
A "thing that's really important to me personally is creating that interpersonal engagement that I feel like is lifting and lifting away from us — creating a space where we can nurture that amongst our customers (and) amongst the residents who live here," she said.
Revere is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.