Kilovolt Coffee: A new caffeine jolt in West Oakland

Screen shot 2014-05-06 at 9.28.42 AM
Kilovolt opened on April 22 in a former warehouse at 1899 Mandela Parkway in West Oakland. Photo: courtesy Kilovolt

A new coffee shop has opened in West Oakland’s Dogtown neighborhood, an area that locals believe is ripe for more food and drink destinations, the wildly popular Brown Sugar Kitchen notwithstanding.

Kilovolt Coffee, at 1829 Mandela Parkway, is co-owned by Ethan Ashley, a self-trained electrician with a background in home remodeling. Ashley identified a gap in the market when he moved to the neighborhood in 2008 and couldn’t find a good cup of coffee, according to SF Weekly, which broke the news last month.

Kilovolt is located in the office part of a former steel equipment warehouse, and Ashley, who did much of the build-out himself, has run with the electricity theme for the décor, using old insulators from high voltage power lines as chandeliers, for instance.

A ‘welcoming” piece of graffiti on the outside of Kilovolt’s coffee shop a week after they opened. Photo: courtesy Kilovolt

The café is serving Sightglass coffee — Ashley trained as a barista at the cult San Francisco roasters, he told Bay Area Bites — and several local purveyors are supplying the food, including By C. Pastries, Baron Baking, and Metropolis Baking Company. Salads, juices and donuts are all on the cards.


kilovolt sitnAshley chose the name Kilovolt because, he said, he thinks electricity is “the coolest.” It also happens to work well in conjunction with FuseBOX, the popular Korean fusion restaurant which also ventured into something of a food desert when it opened not far away on Magnolia Street, also in West Oakland.

Not everyone is thrilled with Kilovolt’s arrival, however. A week after they opened, someone scrawled the words “Eat Shit Yuppies” on the front of the coffee shop’s building. The owners took the incident in stride, however, promising free goods on their Instagram account to those who had their photo taken with the graffiti.

Kilovolt Coffee is at 1829 Mandela Parkway at 18th Street, Oakland, CA 94608. Connect with them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Related:
Bites: Tierra Mia Coffee opens in Oakland (01.31.14)
Bites: Artis Coffee opens on Berkeley’s Fourth Street (12.06.13)
Cool Berkeley coffee joints to get your caffeine on (07.16.12)

Nosh will soon launch Nosh Weekly, a free weekly email that will keep you bang up-to-date on all the delicious food, drink and restaurant news in the East Bay. Want to be one of the first to receive it? Simply sign up here.