continental coffee history

From its humble beginnings, when more than three decades ago Continental Coffee was one of the first coffee purveyors, the Drive has exploded into a coffee lover’s paradise.

The enterprise began when Theo Grippo immigrated from Italy. He opened a coffee bar in 1960 in the northern section of Commercial Drive where the Latin Quarter is today. He closed it to concentrate on selling coffee beans wholesale out of the garage of his home, largely to Italian immigrants. His daughter, Anita Allan, wanted to get back into the retail business and so Continental Coffee was born in 1979. Her two sons, Jordan and Rick, now work in the business, as does her grandson, Nick.

“When Starbucks came in, we thought it was a death sentence, but it has actually attracted more people,” said Jordan.

He said each of the coffee shops in the area has its own niche market. Calabria, he said, is perhaps known for its ambience. His shop is known more for its service and its knowledge of its regular customers. “If we see you a couple of times, we might ask who you are and have your coffee ready before you reach the front of the line.”


commercial drive coffee shop

main street coffee shop

Commercial Drive Coffee Shop Main Street Coffee Shop

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