Most days you can find Brad Gold behind the counter of one of Miracle Mile’s most beloved café and coffee shops, a business he has owned and operated for over 17 years.
Located at the corner of Wilshire and Hauser boulevards, Black Dog Coffee serves breakfast, lunch and a wide selection of beverages to residents and tourists alike.
How it all began
A Los Angeles native, Gold grew up in the San Fernando Valley in the 1950’s. “When I was in school, almost everybody was from somewhere outside California.”
As a boy, his parents owned an Orange Julius franchise in Burbank where he worked while in high school and college. The experience instilled a strong understanding of what it takes to be successful in the restaurant business.
“Hospitality and food are in my DNA,” he says.
After years of working as a senior manager for a restaurant chain, Gold was laid off at the age of 53.
“The chain had expanded too quickly and signed a few too many leases in locations that were marginal,” says Gold.
“Over the years, I had interviewed enough middle-aged job applicants to appreciate that it was time to become self-employed.”
Even with experience in the industry, Gold knew it wasn’t going to be easy: “I was short on cash and in a big hurry.”
With these limitations, Gold set off to find a location. “I needed to find an under-performing café, that already existed, with an owner motivated to sell,” says Gold. Luckily, he found just what he was looking for eight blocks from his home.
Using a small amount of money borrowed from family and friends, Gold took control of 5657 Wilshire and quickly changed the name, menu and look of the café.
“My wife did a great job of designing on a dime,” he says.
What’s in a name?
According to Gold, deciding on the name Black Dog Coffee was a long, but funny process.
“We had a contest to come up with something. It got to the point that friends were leaving names on my answering machine.” Gold says “Jews for Java” and “He-brew” were both being considered until one day he and his wife were talking about a black Lab he had owned years ago. Tears filled his eyes as he recalled the special bond they’d shared.
“So, Black Dog it was,” he says.
Gold’s love for canines doesn’t just end with a namesake. Not only is the café dog-friendly, but a portion of sales every Friday goes to support The Best Friends Animal Society. Gold also promotes in his monthly newsletter what he calls “adorable fur babies who are up for adoption” by the No-Kill Adoption Center.
Gold says he’s grateful to have so many regular customers, and he credits customer service and quality ingredients as reasons for his success. He has three homemade soups on the menu that change daily, and a large selection of vegetarian and vegan options.
But how’s the coffee? Black Dog uses organic and fair traded coffee beans from Groundwork Coffee for its caffeine-based drinks and also offers the beans in one-pound bags, which can be ground to order.