A lesser-known gem around campus, Yali’s Café deserves a shoutout for its accessible locations (yes, plural!), delicious yet affordable menu and ever-friendly staff. Here are 7 facts about Yali’s that’ll make you fall in love with this local café.
1. There are three easily accessible locations around campus.
Yali’s first opened on Oxford Street in 1999. In 2008, they expanded on-campus to Stanley Hall and a Micro Yali’s in VLSB. So wherever your classes are, there is a Yali’s nearby for your midday pick-me-up.
2. Enjoy different atmospheres at different locations.
On campus, Yali’s is bustling mostly with students in between class. At their Oxford storefront, you can enjoy a relaxed, small-town feel. Residents of the Berkeley neighborhood frequent the Oxford location for coffee and meals.
Yali’s prides itself in forming long-lasting relationships with its customers, such as the family who’s been coming for the last 16 years and the Cal student regular who gets his coffee from them every morning.
3. Your barista will probably be a Cal Bear.
80% of Yali’s employees are Cal students. Owner Ayal believes that students are more comfortable being served by their peers. He also thinks Cal students are great employees: serious, responsible and competitive even outside of their academics. Many students employees essentially join the Yali’s family and work with them throughout their college years.
4. Or, one of Yali’s owners will make your drink.
Without knowing better, there’s really no telling if your barista is an employee or the owner. Ayal (pictured above) and Isaac work side by side with their employees to facilitate a productive atmosphere and foster a familial relation.
5. The baristas know what they’re doing.
Yali’s takes employee training very seriously. It’s not just teaching which buttons to press. Yali’s baristas know the purpose behind each step of the process, and some have participated in barista competitions. With fair trade beans and coffee approved by the Specialty Coffee Association of America, you know you’ll always get a good cup of coffee.
6. Yali’s has always been a green business.
Yali’s has used biodegradable products since 2000, even before “going green” became a popular business initiative. They also serve customers local, organic ingredients. Ayal says it’s “always made sense” to be a local store serving local customers. Yali’s also supports local organizations and recently donated food to Spoon University at Berkeley‘s Spoonfest.
7. Yali’s constantly strives for improvement.
Yali’s understands that serving food entails a certain level of trust. They are always trying out new ways to satisfy their customers. Even with their successful items, Yali’s adjusts their menu every semester to keep things interesting, but reasonably priced. We got to enjoy Yali’s new seasonal special: pumpkin chocolate bread that tastes like fall.
So if you haven’t already, come fall in love with this charming, local café.
Thank you to owner Ayal for sharing Yali’s story with us!