Proposal for bikini coffee shop riles up neighborhood

Barista Amber Hope appeared in a promotional video for Pink Pantherz Ex- presso’s store in Modesto.
Barista Amber Hope appeared in a promotional video for Pink Pantherz Ex- presso’s store in Modesto.

By EMILY MIBACH
Daily Post Staff Writer

Residents of the North Fair Oaks neighborhood want to stop the opening of a coffee shop where the baristas wear bikinis and lingerie while whipping up drinks.

Displeased residents went to the microphone at the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday (Aug. 7) to protest the proposed coffee shop, called Pink Pantherz Espresso, which would replace the now-closed Caffino drive-thru at 2797 El Camino Real, between Atherton and Redwood City in the unincorporated county.

“Even though I am 9 years old, I know what’s right and wrong, and it is not appropriate to use a woman’s body to sell coffee,” said Juiletta Martinez, who was one of seven residents who spoke at the meeting.

Hanky Panky down the street

Sister Christina Heltsley, executive director of the St. Francis Center, a nonprofit located down the street from the proposed coffee shop, said the neighborhood already has the Hanky Panky strip club, and does not want to be a dumping ground for seedy businesses.

Heltsley also said she’s glad the “disgusting” Secrets adult book store at 2601 El Camino is gone.

“We are not a trashy community. We are a community of hard-working families,” Martinez said.

Objectifying women

Ana Avendano said she’s concerned about the messages that her young daughter will get from the coffee shop, which will serve up drinks called the “Panty Dropper” and the “Bootycall.”

“I believe women ought to have a diverse set of opportunities that includes employment, however, I don’t believe in opportunities that will continue to objectify women (for) capitalism,” Avendano said.

The county’s planning department is reviewing the application for Pink Pantherz Espresso.

There are no health or food codes that restrict the attire of employees or the naming of menu items, said county spokeswoman Michelle Durand. Also, the county zoning plan allows food businesses to bypass the planning permit process.

‘Uniforms’ might be a problem

But because of the “uniforms” of the Pink Pantherz workers, the business would be considered an adult entertainment business, Durand explained.

The business has been informed by the county that the employees’ outfits must completely cover their bottoms, so that their buttocks are not exposed. Additionally, their breasts must be covered, Durand said.

If the business does open, the county will work “closely” with the owner to make sure there is compliance, Durand said.

The Post was unable to reach Pink Pantherz yesterday (Aug. 8).

There are three other Pink Pantherz shops in California — Fremont, Modesto and Fresno.

5 Comments

  1. If these people don’t like having a bikini coffee bar, there’s a simple solution: Don’t go there. Just stay away. Let others make their own decision whether to patronize this place or not. If most people agree with you that this is bad, the business will fail.

  2. I’ve got to agree with some of the people who are speaking out against this place, the stretch of El Camino between 5th Ave and Target was pretty seedy for a long time. But it looks like things have been improving. The adult book store mentioned in the story is gone, the massage parlors have closed up. There’s still that tattoo parlor, though I’m not sure it’s a big issue. I’d rather not have this coffee shop come in there if it would be the beginning of a red-light district again.

  3. Seems like this comes down to the “uniforms” of the baristas. Does a bikini push this place into the category of an “adult establishment”, and therefore subject to regulation and possible denial by the county. So the owner might have to have these baristas line up for an inspection by Sheriff Bolanos. That would be an interesting sight!

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