Gepetto’s Provides Quality and Authenticity for Orinda

Marina Allen

Nestled between the oriental sprawl of Baan Thai and Szechwan lies Orinda’s very own Gepetto’s Café. This establishment, worthy of the town key, sits parallel to the golf course and is open Monday-Friday 6-5, Saturday 7-3:30, Sunday is closed.

From 1984 through 1993, Gepetto’s was located in Lafayette until corporate cafes stretched their arms, forcing Mr. Gepetto to pick up his business and drop it where it was needed the most. Ohh rinda.

Gepetto’s was named by the founder, Sue Sitzsons, not the popular carpenter featured in the Disney classic, “Pinnochio,” much to the dismay of Gepetto’s younger clientele. “We think it’s a good thing. I think the correlation between the two gives something people can relate to,” says Eric Henderson, a current employee of the café.

The mom-and-pop character which forced Gepetto’s to re-locate from Lafayette to Orinda proves to be the primary reason for its success in its new home. Starbucks and Peet’s may be able to provide their customers with coffee beans shipped from Timbuktu, but these services have nothing to share beyond their exotic blends. Gepetto’s offers their customers local produce, baked goods, business and relationships.

“I’ve been coming here every morning for a while and Gepetto’s always gets it right,” says Bill Newfrock, a long time patron.

The menu offers a wide selection of lunch-time options ranging from curry chicken to spinach salad, not to mention a gelato station and a full coffee bar. If the food doesn’t pique your interest, the charming decorum will. Inside the café, one can find a mural of Orinda drawn by local artist and former employee of Gepetto’s, Eric Rowell. The mural is an interpretation which portrays Orinda in its simpler days prior to corporate takeover.

Gepetto’s café is much more than a great sandwich shop; the café represents a time of tradition in Orinda. By supporting local shops, cafes and restaurants such as Gepetto’s, we can nourish the town’s village roots and help Orinda return to a self-sufficient economy. To actively help the town’s advancement, turn your cheek to the handful of chain coffee joints and move on down to the growing line in front of Gepetto’s Café. Support local business!