What started as a 1948 GMC bread van has since been transformed into one of the best-looking food or beverage trucks I’ve ever seen — and it has an even better story to go with it. Lady Falcon Coffee Club in San Francisco, CA has been serving neighborhoods all over the city since 2017. Buffy Maguire, founder of Lady Falcon Coffee Club, shares the story of the name: “Lady Falcon Coffee Club is a respectful nod to an era in San Francisco Ocean Beach history. In the 1880s, an impromptu neighborhood of abandoned street cars on Judah Street became ‘Carville-by-the-Sea.’ Carville housed many a freethinker. The Falcon Ladies Bicycling Club was one of the first cars in the bunch and helped shape the legend of Carville. With deep roots in Ocean Beach, San Francisco, we sought to imagine the lives of these forerunners who built the spirit of the neighborhood on a sand dune we love so well — with recycled streetcars, grit, tenacity and a passion for fun.”
The transformation of the bread van to a coffee truck was not as easy, laid-back, nor quick, but completely worth the wait. The buildout on the truck took around two years from purchase of the vehicle to serving the first cup of coffee. Chris and Mike at Hellcam completed the truck in two stages. The first stage of the buildout took six months. Major events slowed down the process, like when the refrigerators they ordered were the wrong size and wouldn’t fit in the truck. “Then, we had to special order another set of refrigerators and this was a lot of waiting around,” Buffy shares. “Another interesting story is how we decided we needed more height, light and air, so we sawed off the top of the truck, created metal ribs and installed vintage VW camper bus windows all around the top and re-welded it together.”
Buffy continues, “We chose a vehicle to tell a story about our neighborhood and about our beloved city of San Francisco while sharing our craft roasted coffee. Our neighborhood, Ocean Beach, has a rich history of artists, makers, writers, poets and freethinkers as exemplified by the Falcon Ladies Bicycling Club which we modeled ourselves after.” This story and the transformation is one of the most interesting projects that I’ve had the chance to share with all of you. It’s energizing and it makes me so excited for you to read more. —Erin
Image above: San Francisco’s lovely Alamo Square Park (edged by the famed Painted Ladies houses) recently reopened, and the Lady Falcon truck was there on opening day. Now you can find the truck there every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, from 9:30am to 4pm. Follow the truck on Instagram to see where you can find them around the city.