Downtown coffee house changes hands, name

Posted: Tuesday, December 12, 2000

Valentine's Coffee House & Bakery is in the process of becoming Valentine's Coffee House & Pizzeria.

A new menu, inaugurated recently, added pizza, and hours were extended from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays, said Hector Marrero, one of the people taking over the downtown coffee shop. The restaurant had been closing at 6 p.m., but with the later hours, he is hoping to attract dinner business. Dinner delivery service will be available from 5 to 9 p.m.

Marrero and his partner, Ian Grant, are buying the popular Seward Street eatery from its owner, Steve Pfister, Marrero said.

"It's not official yet; we are working on the final papers," he said.

"The two of us are making a commitment to offer the best food in Juneau," Grant said.

That includes calzones made to order. For Tex-Mex fans, Valentine's is offering a Zapatista calzone, a vegetarian combination of refried beans, brown rice, corn, mild chilies, garlic, onion, tomatoes and mozzarella.

"We're adding deliveries and hot sandwiches, too," Marrero said. Hot sandwiches are served on fresh-baked Focaccia, bread, toasted bread or bagels.

"It's time to pass the torch," Pfister said this morning. He opened the cafe July 14, 1994, after a year of planning and construction. He always wanted to offer dinner, he said, but it was too much for a sole proprietor.

"It's a pretty intense business. It's fine as a cafe and closing early, but I really needed a partner to do dinner. These gentlemen came along and offered me what I wanted, and I'm moving on," Pfister said.

Pfister plans to take a long vacation in Mexico, and then return to Juneau and perhaps work in tourism for eight months of the year.

Marrero, 25, has lived in Juneau for nine-and-a-half years. He is originally from Puerto Rico, and has been working in restaurants for nine years.

He said he's unsure about returning live music to Valentine's, which used to host a small concert series.

"Live music is not in our plans yet; we are coming up with new ideas one day at a time. We don't want to jump into anything too big right now," he said.

The new menu includes items such as the Marguerita pizza, created for Queen Marguerita of Italy in 1889 by Rafael Esposito; Hector's Greek pizza, with sun-dried tomatoes, kalamata olives, artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers and feta; and hot sandwiches such as the pollo al pesto, with chicken, pesto, sun-dried tomatoes, mozzarella and light cream cheese.

Lunch delivery is available with a $45 minimum order.

Ann Chandonnet can be reached at

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