November Spotlight: Dialog Cafe
Our spotlight this month is on Dialog Café. Started by an Italian family, Dialog first opened its doors as a sandwich shop in the heart of West Hollywood. Since then, Dialog has adapted and evolved with the changing times to become the specialty coffee house that customers love. It is still run by the family today and true to their roots, father and son – Raphael and Tadeh can’t start the day until they’ve pulled and drank a shot of espresso first thing in the morning.
I sat down with Tadeh, who has since traded his corporate gig to become fully immersed in the family business (he was juggling both at one point).
What's the history behind the shop. How long has the café been here?
My parents, Raphael and Kenar, came from Rome and opened the cafe in 2007. In the beginning, it was more of an Italian deli – a place for great sandwiches. Business was churning along, but right before recession, the café took a dip. We tightened the business during that time and luckily made it through. In a family-owned business, everyone is well of what their duties and responsibilities are for the shop.
What is your favorite part of the café?
I love trying new things and seeing how they resonate with our customers. Such as bringing in new brewing techniques like the Kyoto cold brew, where the filtration takes much longer, but the flavor and clarity you get from the coffee is unmatched.
We also source all our ingredients from local farmer’s market – a lot of it from the Santa Monica market. We’re lucky to be in California where we can get great fresh ingredients all year around and we get seasonal inspiration there as well. For example, we just introduced a rosemary-infused latte into our menu.
What are some things you’re really proud of accomplishing with Dialog? What are some new things you’ve introduced this year?
I’m really proud of how the café has grown. It’s 4-5 times the size since we started with basic sandwiches. We were definitely more of a sandwich shop than coffee destination in the beginning.
One new thing we added this year is our amazing chocolate chip cookie, made from scratch with vanilla bourbon extract, organic sugar, sea salt and fair trade TCHO chocolate. We bake it fresh every morning and it’s best (I can attest having tasted it).
What is your favorite drink here? Any new things planned?
I’m an espresso guy first and foremost. Our espresso still remains the most popular drink. The beans are locally roasted in California and our roaster hand-delivers our espresso so we can truly say that we’re able to control the quality of it.
BUT I also like flat whites. So you know how flat whites have made their way from Australia into the US. I think the next big thing is the piccolo latte, which we will be introducing here. A piccolo latte is basically a ristretto shot topped with steamed milk and just a bit of foam, served in an espresso cup – think baby latte. There’s less milk so you can really taste the espresso flavor.
How about any holiday specials that are being added to the menu?
A Minty TCHO Chocolate Mocha. The TCHO chocolate will be the secret bomb ingredient. Be on the lookout for that.