SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — After six decades in business, a family legal drama may force a legendary San Francisco coffee shop in North Beach to close its doors.
The lawsuit, filed by the founder of Caffe Trieste’s own son could end 60 years of history at the popular corner spot at the intersection of Vallejo Street and Grant Avenue.
For decades, creative minds and coffee lovers have gathered to make music, write, and, of course, enjoy espresso.
“It’s just the atmosphere,” said regular Jeff Blackburn. “It’s like a village everyone meets here in the mornings. It’s a ritual.”
Caffe Trieste started during the era of the beat poets who would find their creative voice. Music rings through the small location.
“This place is almost a landmark as far as I’m concerned,” said frequent customer Nicholas Quirarte.
Francis Ford Coppola is one of many well-known names to walk through these doors.
He typed the screenplay for “The Godfather” at the cafe.
Over time, the business has become a cornerstone of the community, a place of comfort, connections and solace.
“It’s my living room. I come here for coffee almost every morning,” said regular Phil Jessie.
For long timers like Jessie, stopping at the cafe is like visiting family.
But it’s family that may tear this place apart.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported that Fabio Giotta, the son of the cafes late founder, filed the lawsuit in Superior Court.
Known affectionately by many as Giovanni “Papa Gianni” Giotta, Caffe Trieste’s founder died in January of last year at the age of 96. An immigrant who grew up in a small fishing town in Italy, he missed the espresso houses of Trieste.
So he opened his own on the corner of Grant and Vallejo.
In the lawsuit, the son claims it’s no longer possible for the shareholders to work together. He is demanding the Caffe Trieste business and brand be permanently dissolved.
“I hope not. Of course not! They’ll find a way,” said Jessie. “They’d be foolish to shut it down.”
Many hope this will be a short-lived dark time for the legendary location as the heated family dispute plays itself out in court.
Giotta’s lawsuit is represented by attorney John Scarpino. KPIX 5 reached out to Scarpino, but did not receive a response.
Adrienne Giotta’s attorney told KPIX 5 they will have their response to all of this in court next week.