“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” – Socrates
This Socrates quote is particularly apt for the restaurant industry during the current COVID-19 pandemic, both nationally, throughout our country’s fifty states, and locally, here in Benicia. One unique restaurant that has transformed itself is Java Point Cafe, run by the Alberto family and their partners, Casey and J.P. De La Cruz.
Java Point Café opened in 2006 as a family catering business that morphed into a family café. The Alberto clan came from the Philippines. All four kids worked at the restaurant while in high school, and stayed on after graduation to develop the vision of their restaurant. Over the years, Java Point Café expanded their menu beyond basic coffee shop fare to include paninis, crab and avocado melts, and specialty egg dishes like the ultra-popular crab benedict and, my favorite, tapsilog. A Filipino breakfast dish, tapsilog features marinated tri-tip steak pieces that have been cooked and placed on a bed of garlic rice with two softly fried eggs on top. The sharp flavor of the accompanying pickled green papaya, and the fresh tomatoes and cucumber contrast nicely with the meat, rice and eggs, creating a taste treat trifecta. Unbelievably yummy!
Java Point Cafe is no slouch when it comes to coffee, offering coffee specialties that rival any ubiquitous coffeehouse chain. They boast a great selection that includes chai latte, hot chocolate, espresso, café mocha and even a cold honey lavender latte. Their superlative raspberry scones are to die for and the house-made banana walnut bread is delicious, as is the blueberry walnut coffee cake.
Dinner menu items include chicken satay with peanut curry dipping sauce, cracked beef with onions (another Filipino dish), and garlic butter jumbo shrimp. Also available are shrimp and pork lumpia, the traditional Filipino version of eggrolls, served with a sweet chili dipping sauce. Sides include a delicious Hawaiian-style macaroni salad that is both creamy and luscious, fruit salad, a cucumber salad, and a savory Java rice .
The restaurant’s management is committed to the health and safety of both customers and staff and is offering to-go menu items only, for the time being. But recently, Java Point Café partnered with The Chill, a wine bar two doors down and began offering menu items at The Chill’s outdoor seating. This means you can enjoy Java Point Café’s delicious menu items while drinking wine or beer in an outdoor setting. It is heartening to see two Benicia businesses work together to provide a relaxing and delicious alternative to purchasing food for takeout only. These two businesses should be lauded for thinking outside the box and creating an opportunity for the public to enjoy food and drink in a safe outdoor location.
366 1st St, Benicia, CA 94510