[Palo Alto/ SF SOMA] Ada's Cafe- little cafe with a social mission

Ada’s Cafe is a nonprofit cafe that employs adults with disabilities and serves sandwiches, soups, pastries, etc. in a small space next to the Mitchell Park Community Center/ Library in Palo Alto. The name refers to both the Americans with Disabilities Act as well as the name of one of the founders’ role models.

I got two sandwiches that were made to order- Wonderful Wendy ($10.95) and Bonanza ($11.95). Wonderful Wendy was a (organic) turkey sandwich with bacon, havarti, avocado and chipotle aioli. Bonanza was a (organic) steak sandwich with jack cheese and chimichurri. Both were delicious sandwiches with balanced flavors that pop, and meats that didn’t have an over-reliance on salt to deliver flavors like most industrial sandwich meats does. Also got a slice of vegetable frittata ($7.95) that was (properly) eggy (from good eggs I presumed) and satisfying.

I don’t know if they baked their own or if Kelly’s French Bakery baked for them, but the blueberry scone ($3.75) was satisfying. I didn’t do a comparison among Ada’s, Starter Bakery’s and Arizmendi’s scones. But I’d happily eat either one of them.

They use good ingredients. I knew that when I purchased these items to go since I was staring at the sign, below, so you could say I might be potentially biased by the branding/ marketing. But I intentionally withheld the information from my wife and let her just taste the food on its own. Got a thumbs up from her on all 4 items before I shared their sourcing.

The nonprofit has also hired a Syrian refugee according to Elena Kadvany’s profile of the cafe. LOL maybe we should tempt the person to make some Syrian specialties.

I am glad that Palo Alto awarded the contract to this social entrepreneurship, that provides employment to a marginalized population and make great food. If this place is in SF or Oakland, the media would be all over it for its social mission and its careful sourcing of high quality ingredients.

Premade selections:

Menu board:


Oh wait, apparently they have two cafes. The second one is in SF- Harrison and Beale in SOMA. Amending the location in the title.

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Eclair was pretty good. I liked the semisweet chocolate on top. The chocolate toffee scone was also pretty good though a little more uniformly sweet than I’d like.

The plum torte was great. Slight sweetness balanced by the tartness of the plums, with the slightly charred hard edges providing a textural contrast. Recommended.

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