Diedrich's Coffee in Malibu is closing. Sold to Starbucks last week. Adios to fresh-roasted java, local pastries, employees like Rita and Henry and Alma, who know the names of all their regular customers and add a touch of class to the place. So long to the best ice-blendeds anywhere, and to great signs like "Unattended children will be served a complimentary double espresso." The bad news was spreading fast at Diedrich's this morning and it was like a wake.
Don't get me wrong. We're not idiots. We know it'll be way harder on the people behind the Diedrich's counter than on those waiting in line in front of it. We know we're bemoaning the loss of a company store built on a wetland that was wrested by the state from the Rindge family who, in their turn, briefly owned 17,000 acres of land that had, for centuries before, belonged to the Chumash. But Malibu's a small town, spread thin and long across 27 miles bisected by a highway. Our meeting places are few and we cherish them.
So I called Diedrich's in Irvine and got referred to a chirpy, it's-all-good flack at a PR firm. Steve Coffey, the company's CEO, wants to concentrate on roasting and distribution and is dumping the coffee houses. The deal should close sometime between December and February. Employees get to apply for jobs at Starbucks. You can buy Diedrich's beans on the internet.
Where you'll go to hear about Henry and Rita's son studying Greek at his magnet school in LA, she couldn't say.