Benicia’s Best Kept Secret
Steps from the waterfront you’ll find a tiny café that packs in the crowds every day. With San Francisco, Tahoe and the Napa Valley all within driving distance, Benicia sometimes serves as a “drive through” town. But take one of the town’s three exits, drive a short two minutes along Military Street, turn south on First Street and continue about ¾ of a mile until you’re a couple of blocks from the scenic Carquinez Strait. There, on the left, you’ll find Java Point Café, a hole-in-the-wall that is Benicia’s best kept secret.
Small-town vibe in a historic location
Java Point is a local, family-owned café with a small-town vibe—a coffeehouse located at the foot of First Street in Northern California’s third State Capital, the Benicia Capital State Historic Park. The friendly, always smiling crew knows their regulars by name, and along the walls, small paintings by local artists hang for sale.
Because of its diminutive size, the staff shows an attention to detail that is unmatched in the area. From the perfectly runny golden yolk of JP’s poached eggs, to the vibrant colors of fresh cut fruit, you can taste the care in every scrumptious bite. This extends to their beverage menu as well. Iced coffee is served in mason jars kept cold with coffee ice cubes so they never taste watered down. Hot lattes are served with hand-drawn leaves or abstract designs stenciled into foamed milk, which can be customized with almond milk for a non-dairy alternative. For an especially elegant caffeine fix, your name can be written with chocolate syrup, just for the asking.
The mouth-watering Veggie Eggs Benedict, which subs avocado for the usual soggy, sautéed spinach, is served on a buttery croissant that stands in for the predictable English muffin. Brunch items including waffles, pancakes, French toast, sandwiches/panini and gourmet baked goods. Regulars rave about the filling Crab Melt Panini, and the perfectly-crisped Banana Walnut Waffle, with a soft middle and a dollop of hand-whipped fresh cream. Breakfast combos are served with a choice of fresh fruit or breakfast potatoes; lunch items, with a generous serving of either homemade pesto pasta or potato salad.
Dine in, on the plaza or along the waterfront
Serving breakfast and lunch, the Café, recently re-opened after a major renovation that gave it an industrial flair and additional seating, is open 8:30-4, seven days a week, with reduced hours on Sunday. Be sure to arrive early as the limited seating fill up fast. Additional outdoor patio seating is spread out along the plaza, ideal for people watching. To-go orders are available for those who can’t wait for a table, or who prefer to eat along the First Street promenade that abuts the waterfront, gazing at the peaceful Carquinez Strait. Service is excellent, but unhurried as the kitchen is small, and coffee refills are free while you wait. Java Point Café, 366 First Street, Benicia, CA 94510. Facebook.com – Java Point Café, 707.745.1449.