CW Big Box of New Winner, South African Daniel Da Silva carves a unique niche for his bustling organic/local ingredient-driven cafe The Station, in SF one authentic connection at a time.

Da Silva took a moment away from his bustling go-to lunch and breakfast destination to share his story along with his appreciation of winning CW’s bountiful ‘Big Box of New.’

Journey to the world of food in San Francisco

I was working in the pharmaceutical industry in South Africa where I’m from and was looking for a fresh start. I eventually jumped in and bought into a South African franchise of cafes called Nino’s. I didn’t know much about this kind of work so there was a very steep learning curve in the beginning. Then, when my girlfriend (now wife) wanted to move to San Francisco for her education, I basically pulled the ‘short straw’ so to speak… We were young and wanted to learn about life and have an adventure.

A Short Ride to Destiny

Three years after opening Nino’s, I closed the business and moved to the Bay Area. Being an avid road cyclist, I heard a few friends in my riding group talking about wanting to start a cafe, and that they were looking for help. That was it. I bought into The Station and the rest is history.

Inspiration for ‘The Station’

The Station was inspired by the celebrated train stations in Europe visited by pro tour riders. Being of mutual biking interest ourselves, we wanted to create the ultimate cafe, the type of place you would love to stop at during or after a long ride, a place with delicious pastries, breakfast and lunch offerings and of course, fantastic coffee. We use Sightglass Coffee, (an independent, sibling-owned coffee company in San Francisco CA.)

Bread and Butter

We have had to learn how to adapt to the market. Beyond cyclists and casual locals who frequent here, we also get a lot of business clientele for breakfast and lunch and want to make sure we are meeting their needs. Fortunately we have a lot of regulars. We see 70% of our clientele between 5 and 7 times a week.

Winning Formula

Genuinely caring about our customers. It’s an old traditional format that works. Taking the time to hear what people want, listen to their stories, properly connect. Everyone wants to be recognized and appreciated.

Along with this is having the right staff who share the philosophy of truly wanting to connect and go the distance for our customers. At The Station, our staff means the world to us, because we know we cannot succeed without them. A happy staff creates a happy atmosphere and great energy for our customers.

Winning CW’s Big Box of New

Amazing goodies! Thank you very much! I’m so excited to share this with my staff! I’m really looking forward to trying the Prosciutto from La Quercia. And the Hibiscus Flower in Syrup and Wild Hibiscus Pyramid Salt. We just tried The Source’s Fiery Ginger Beer. It is ginger potent but very yummy. Straight up amazing ginger ale that’s not too sugary. We are seriously excited to try everything in CW’s Big Box of New at our next staff dinner.

Thoughts on The Chefs’ Warehouse

CW is a premium company whose service is second to none. I mean this wholeheartedly. From clean cut deliveries, to placing orders, helping out in pinch, CW jumps on immediately. Our Sales Rep Michael Christie gives me the best advice and is always very responsive. A lot of mistakes in this industry can be out of our control and CW/ Del Monte are always there to help find a solution. CW is large company but they operate on a very personal level. This makes you feel great that you’ve chosen the right distributor.