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Sneak preview: Franklin café gets ready to reopen its doors next month

It’s been dormant for nearly seven months, but the remodeled café in UCOP’s Franklin building — featuring a new name, a revamped menu with healthier options, Verve coffee, WiFi and more — is getting ready to open in mid-May.

The café will call itself High XII, invoking the focus on lunch items as well as the building’s 12 floors and its location near 12th St. in the shadow of the Tribune clock tower. The café closed last October for a complete overhaul after an electrical fire caused extensive smoke damage.

With new tile, flooring, cabinetry and fixtures, High XII will have a more open floor plan and more subtle lighting. The menu will be different, too, said owner Abir Balat, who will personally oversee operations to assure that customers are happy with both food and service.

Expanded breakfast offerings will include coffee from Verve Coffee Roasters of Santa Cruz, pastries from Oakland’s Starter Bakery, fresh bread from Bakers of Paris, a yogurt machine and hot breakfast specials. Also available will be a range of espresso drinks, soy and almond milk as well as Verve’s own chai tea brew.

The lunch menu, in addition to hot specials, will offer freshly made soups, sandwiches, wraps and panini as well as a larger salad bar with more options. Sandwiches will include such combinations as turkey and brie; prosciutto with fresh mozzarella, red pepper aioli and basil; and eggplant and tomatoes with pesto ricotta.

“We’re trying to incorporate better quality with lots of variety,” Balat said. “We live in an area where we’re so spoiled with fresh vegetables and the best of ingredients, so we’re taking advantage of that in building the new menu.”

She has engaged Moises Sikaffy, former executive chef at Menlo Country Club, to consult on the menu and train café staff so that every dish is consistent from day to day. There will be grab-and-go items like premade salads for when you’re rushing to that lunchtime meeting.

The café will have free WiFi as well as electrical outlets, an improved music playlist and the trusty ATM machine.

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  1. Charlie Malarkey April 30, 2014 Reply

    There’s no mention of whether any of the nice people who worked in the place before it was closed will be coming back.

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