Community opposition to bikini coffee shop proposal takes flight

Community opposition to bikini coffee shop proposal takes flight

in Community/Featured/Headline and

Growing community opposition to a bikini coffee shop in Redwood City has involved divine intervention.

Sister Christina Heltsley of St. Francis Center is mounting opposition to a plan to open a Pink Pantherz Espresso at 2797 El Camino Real in North Fair Oaks, the space formerly occupied by the old Caffino. Pink Pantherz is a small coffee shop chain established in 2014 where baristas wear bikinis. It has locations in Fremont, Modesto, and Fresno.

Heltsley is joined by a number of residents who say the type of business is inappropriate for the location. Kids pass it twice daily on their way to Selby Lane, the local public school, Heltsley says.

In a Facebook post Sunday, Heltsley called upon community members to pen letters to Pink Pantherz owner Jose L. Carmona requesting that he nix plans to open at 2797 El Camino Real. Her post mentions the property is owned by “very highly resourced people living in Atherton.” That appears to reference the Hiller family, best known for their display of aircraft and helicopters at the Hiller Aviation Museum, who appear to be branching out in the display business with the controversial bikini coffee shop proposal.  Online property records, including the P.O. Box address listed in county property tax records, indicate owners of the site are members of the Hiller family. Calls to family members have not been returned.

Heltsley previously spoke against the plan at a recent San Mateo County Board of Supervisors meeting and has also made her case to local media.

“In truth, this kind of place would never be allowed in a more economically advantaged community,” she said. “Our community is filled with hard working and wonderful families, we so do not want to be a dumping ground for trashy places.”

Some community members support the business. Carmona told the San Mateo Daily Journal that his business has been involved in the communities where it operates and intends to comply with local regulations. KPIX 5 visited the Pink Pantherz location in Fremont, where manager Sarah Perrin says the business employs confident women serving quality coffee.

“If you go out to a beach, you’re seeing girls in bikinis,” Perrin said, adding she was personally shocked by the community opposition. “At the end of the day, it’s just coffee. There’s nothing that goes beyond us handing you over a drink.”

But with menu options such as “Panty Dropper,” “Booty Call” and “Hard On,” community members disagree with the beach comparison.

“It’s a disgrace when all the children go past that place in the morning,” resident Janet Davis said at the county board meeting.

The county is currently reviewing the business owner’s application — and yes, employee attire has been a point of concern.

“The proposed employee attire would be considered an adult entertainment business (specifically, cabaret) under County planning code,” County spokeswoman Michelle Durand told Climate in an email. “Planning Director Steve Monowitz has informed the owner that to comply with zoning code,  employee dress must completely cover their bottoms from a point below the buttocks and their entire breasts from a point immediately above the areola. If and when the business does open, the County will work closely with the owner to ensure compliance. Failure to do so will be a code violation.”

In an effort to comply, Carmona told the Daily Journal he would be proposing new uniforms for the Redwood City location.


  1. I don’t even drink coffee, but it seems to me that people would prefer to be served by someone who is not running around in their underwear. I know I would! There is no reason for that, other than the obvious, is there?

  2. I wrote an email to Warren Slocum, who hasn’t responded. As a Redwood City resident since 1963, a homeowner, mother, and grandmother of school age children, I am appalled that this is allowed in our community. Would this sort of establishment be allowed in Menlo Park, San Carlos, Palo Alto? Of course not! What is the use of beautification, if we allow this type of business in our community? I just wish I knew who signed the approval. How would the Hillards like scant clothed baristas parading in front of their Atherton home, I think not.

  3. I believe the names of the drinks are a big piece of the problem. Who wants to be explaining what “booty call” and “panty dropper” is to their kid, and why those names would be used for a coffee drink? And I can’t imagine the women working there want to put up with the inevitable idiots who will think they’re funny asking for a drink with lines like “Give me a hard on, girl, heh, heh.”

  4. Hey people, there is a full-on strip club about 3 blocks from this place so don’t think that this is the pretty part of Redwood City. What did you do about the strip club? As for this coffee place unless you drive in and are a customer you’ll probably never see one of the girls. If you don’t want to support it just drive by.

  5. Dear sanctimonious objectors to a legitimate business:

    1. Your kids already know what a “booty call” and “panty dropper” are. After all, you are the ones who let your kids have a phone in their hands from the time they are toddlers. If you don’t think they know how to find out this stuff, you need to ask them to ‘splain how the smart phone works.

    2. Sister Heltsley, who objects on some sort of moral grounds but is happy to use local bureaucracy to aid her cause, is directly affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church, an organization that no longer has any moral authority or credibility whatsoever. Nuff said on that one.

    3. Many of the objectors to this legitimate business, who are the same local so-called conservatives who object to the ongoing ridicules leftie politics that have been ruining the Bay Area (and CA in general), are happy to use the powers of local government to tell everyone else what to do when it’s their particular cause. Big hypocrites. (Plus, their men folk will be the biggest customers of this type of join. lol)

    4. The fact that the Hillers own this, that or anything is completely irrelevant. Either people want to buy this coffee or they don’t. Let the market decide.

    5. Remember, what goes around, comes around. You object to someone else’s legitimate business practices, eventually someone will object to yours. It’s what “soft tyranny” is all about.

  6. While I know there are plenty out there, male and female, that appreciate the site of an attractive female body, I wonder what message it sends to pay someone to display it.
    It seems outdated and exclusive, two qualities that seem to be the antithesis of Redwood City.

  7. On the same block is a “titty bar” called Hanky Panky. A few more blocks north is Planned Parenthood. I think this business fits perfectly in the neighborhood!

  8. That location is much better suited for a Dutch Bros. Coffee. Their nearest one is in Fairfield, so this could be their first Bay Area location!

  9. Peo0le argue that the Hanky Panky is down the street and I even thought of Hooters. The wait staff at Hooters and the performers in Hanky Panky are IN the establishment, so if people don’t want to be exposed to that, they don’t have to be. The problem with Pink Pantherz is that those women, in their barest bikinis & bras and panties, will be visible.

  10. What if they only hire fat, hairy men to work there? Would it have the same appeal? Also, isn’t half naked person serving you coffee, an OSHA Violation?

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