While drinking a cup of Joe or grabbing a breakfast burrito or a fresh-baked pastry at Java Man on Pier Avenue, one can get a sense of history. The coffee shop resides in a beach house that was built 90 years ago.
The city of Hermosa Beach was only 22 years old and had fewer than 5,000 residents when the house at 157 Pier Ave. was built. In 1992, Rick Hankus turned what was over the decades a plant store, travel agency, temp agency and retail shops, into Java Man, which soon became a favorite hangout for locals.
“When I first opened, this older hippie kind of guy came in and said 'I used to live here,' and he pointed to the sink, which is behind the espresso machine. You can still see it. The bathroom sink is still there ... so we really didn't change much to it at all.”
Hankus, who opened Ocean Diner on Aviation Boulevard 33 years ago, said the building needs fresh paint yearly, but the only major change in recent years is the addition of air conditioning last summer. But there has been significant development next door to Java Man.
“When we first opened we could see the ocean from where the guys wash the dishes,” Hankus said. “We had a complete sand view and that was before they built up next door. Now we get no breeze anywhere.”
Hours of operation at Java Man has also decreased over the years. Originally they were open from 6 a.m. to midnight, seven nights a week. Now they close at 5 p.m. daily.
“We didn't get a lot of people at night and I was a little afraid of people hanging out late at night... I felt worried for my employees,” Hankus said.
Hankus said he “never thought it would last this long.”
“I'll be here until he (landlord) kicks me out,” Hankus said.
For more information, visit javamancoffeehouse.com.