3000 Upas Street #103, North Park
If there was an equation that equaled success for independent coffee houses, the owners of Influx must have solved it. They recently opened their third location in the new Northparker building on the corner of 30th and Upas.
The layout is much improved from the crowded configuration in Little Italy and the poor use of seating space in Golden Hill. There’s plenty of standing room for patrons waiting on to-go orders, and generous indoor and patio seating for guests hoping to post up for a bit. Honestly, my only complaints are comfort-based: the under-seat outlets are difficult to reach, and the west-facing windows are lacking shades. An athletic maneuver shouldn’t be necessary to plug in a laptop, and sunburn shouldn’t be a concern indoors.
I’ve noticed that Influx staff tends to rotate between locations, so there are some familiar faces in the North Park storefront. It’s clear the new additions are learning from the veterans because service is always efficient, consistent, and friendly.
Influx’s menu offers house made baked goods starting at $2.75; bagel, croissant, and traditional sandwiches ($4.95 – 6.75); yogurt and granola bowls ($4.75 – 6.50); and salads ($5.50 – 6.95). Those with limited diets will also be satisfied with several hearty vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options.
As for the coffee, Influx teams with Café Moto to bring locally roasted goodness to their guests. Choose from organic drip, cold brew, and espresso drinks, or for less of a jolt, turn to their assortment of teas or Italian sodas ($1.50 – 4.75). With affordable prices and all-day meal options like these, it’s no wonder I recently spent more than half a day working from the café.
For breakfast, I started with the Spicy Vegan on an everything bagel with spicy hummus, tomato, cucumber, and red onion ($4.95). Call me crazy, but I added cream cheese because, well, cheese makes everything better. The bagel was perfectly chewy and seasoned, and the toppings were fresh, flavorful, and undeniably spicy. The heat is in no way overwhelming and was easily countered with an iced house coffee ($1.95) with cream.
When lunchtime rolled around, I opted for the Mozz 2, which stacks fresh mozzarella cheese, olive tapenade, roasted red pepper, arugula, and balsamic vinaigrette between slices of fresh baked bread ($6.75). Focaccia was the clear winner over the white or wheat roll. The olive oil, sea salt, and cracked pepper seasonings enhanced the sweet, briny, and bitter ingredient list.
Turns out, coffee house success is simple: provide excellent coffee, high-quality food, first-rate service, and a functional environment.