Tono Coffee Project's Palo Alto pop-up closes May 15. Photo by Zack Fernandes.
Tono Coffee Project has announced that it will close its counter at downtown Palo Alto natural wine bar Salvaje on May 15 after nearly two years in business there.
Bryan Chiem started Tono Coffee Project as a pop-up and events company in 2017 and opened a space inside Salvaje in June 2020.
Previously popping up for only a day or two at a time, Tono Coffee Project is known for single-origin coffees sourced from roasters around the world and oat-milk based beverages that have created a loyal customer base.
Opening up during shelter-in-place orders in what Chiem called a "ghost town," Tono Coffee Project fostered connections among local guests dealing with the pandemic and other challenges. "This thing here in Palo Alto, it's kind of become (something) that I never really expected or planned for. I have employees now. We have a whole baking operation now … it's all good memories," Chiem says.
Tono Coffee Project also hosted a number of bakers selling often Asian-inspired baked goods, including dark chocolate kouign amann from Love For Butter, sesame-scallion focaccia from Year of the Snake Foods, and Pastry Cat's matcha blondies. Since September 2021, the shop has been baking goods in-house.
Without a concrete plan, Chiem looks forward to Tono's next venture, whether it's a pop-up, a focus on private events or a return to his home of East San Jose. "I started Tono as a creative project … I use it as an outlet to explore my curiosities (around) coffee. Being able to continuously explore … is what Tono is, and has been for me. I kind of want to keep it that way," he says.
Salvaje will soon host Feast and Floral's cheese boards and floral bouquets.
Tono Coffee Project, 369 Lytton Ave., Palo Alto; Instagram: @tonocoffeeproject.
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