Biff's Coffee Shop

The Los Angeles architectural firm, Armet & Davis, known for “Googie” style space-age coffee shops, designed this, their only round diner. Standard Oil built it, along with a gas station on Broadway in 1963. Biff’s was popular from its inception. In spite of that, Chevron, Standard Oil’s successor, wanted to demolish it and replace it with a ‘McChevron,’ a McDonald’s/Chevron gas station combo, in 1996. They closed it, but a grassroots effort by an outraged public saved the building from demolition. In 1997, Oakland’s Landmarks Board certified it as a designated historical resource thereby requiring an EIR before demolition. Two years later Chevron, after a hearing on the draft EIR, at which the community loudly protested its demolition, gave up and the property was sold to a car dealer who still retains ownership. Biff’s integrity is largely intact with the interior in most need of restoration. With its circle of glass, it felt open and, yet, embracing. By removing those brown shingles, the exterior could be restored to its original “flying saucer” spectacle. Biff’s is located in Oakland’s Uptown, an area with new restaurants attracting evening diners that needs this beloved unique full service restaurant for residents in this vibrant urbane district.

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