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Sonoma entrepreneur honors his dad with new Don Chava coffee brand

If Sal Chavez Jr. and his wife Kina weren’t busy enough running Picazo Café, importing a line of tequilas and raising their young family, Sal’s New Year’s resolution this year was also to launch a line of coffee blends with the goal of rolling out retail sales nationwide.

Picazo Café is celebrating its 10th year in business this spring and, to celebrate, Sal decided it was time to expand the restaurant’s branded offerings.

“Considering how much foot traffic we see, it was the right time,” said Chavez.

Sal’s father is Salvador Chavez Sr. Also known as Don Chava, he bakes the restaurant’s pastries and is the face of Picazo every morning.

“My father is the first person people see as they come in to get their breakfast and it felt like the right time to pay homage to him,” said Sal Chavez.

Since its opening, Picazo Café has served Peerless coffee which is roasted in San Francisco. Peerless is well-regarded in the hospitality industry. The company was named Roaster of the Year for 2019 by Roaster magazine.

“Thanks to a local connection, they took us on when we were just starting out and, now, we have grown to be a good customer for them,” said Chavez. He approached Peerless about developing a branded line for Picazo and they loved the idea.

Chavez Sr. hails from Michoacan, Mexico and the goal is to one day import beans from there for a blend developed entirely from Michoacan beans.

Retail 1-pound bags of beans will be for sale by mid-February and online ordering should be up and running a few weeks later. Sal Chavez said that he would love to offer a recyclable Keurig cup down the road.

A rebrand of Picazo’s coffee station has already taken place. Now prominent is the Don Chava logo which features a cartoon rendition of Sal Sr.

While Chavez will start by offering existing Peerless blends, within a few months he expects his father to have developed some blends that will be unique to Don Chava.

“Dad is choosing the blends based on what has been most popular with customers over the years,” said Sal Jr.

Email lorna.sheridan@sonomanews.com.

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