Oakland Tribune Outtakes

Notes from Oakland, Berkeley and in between

Free coffee at Berkeley cafe coming your way

By kbender
Thursday, February 5th, 2009 at 4:24 pm in Uncategorized.

It seems strange that in a recession so many businesses _ from small mom-and-pop eateries to national chains _ would give away food and drinks. 

But that is exactly what’s happening. And on Feb. 20, Caffe Stada will give away coffee drinks all day to mark its 20th anniversary, said owner Daryl Ross, who also owns the Free Speech Movement cafe on the UC Berkeley campus. Ross expects that at least 5,000 people will converge on the cafe at 2300 College Ave. for a cup of joe.

That’s what happened on the 10th anniversary of the cafe, Ross said.  Starting Feb. 16 and continuing through the week, Strada will give away prizes, ranging from T-shirts to gift certificates for dinners at Adagia Restaurant and room nights at the Bancroft Hotel.

Ross said Strada is the birthplace of the white hot chocolate and the white mocha, a drink that now appears on coffee shop menus everywhere.

The drink brought former Vice President Al Gore to Strada during a visit to the Cal campus after his Berkeley grad aides raved about the cafe’s white hot chocolate drink, Ross said.

Ross said he doesn’t know what it’s going to cost him to serve up the free drinks. But it’s worth it because he’s rewarding his loyal customers. He estimates that the cafe has served more than 10 million people since it opened its doors in 1989. Ross isn’t the only one offering up free stuff in these tough economic times.

Earlier this week, Denny’s restaurants gave away free Grand Slam breakfasts for several hours at 1,500 locations coast to coast. Company officials estimated that some 2 million people took advantage of the free breakfast, which usually costs $5.99.

If you didn’t get your bacon and eggs at Denny’s this week, it’s not to late to get a free breakfast. IHOP is celebrating National Pancake Day on Feb. 24 with a free short stack of buttermilk pancakes from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

The chain is asking for people to make donations to a local charity in lieu of paying for the hotcakes. Patrons should also call before going to make sure your location is participating in the promo.

Over the years, Ben & Jerry’s Scoop shops and Baskin-Robbins ice cream stores have rewarded customers with free scoops and cones.

Who says there’s no such thing as a free… coffee… breakfast… ice cream?

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