How We Got Started
Our Rich History
When we founded San Marino in 1993, we wanted to bring great Sicilian coffee and the finest Italian food into the community we were proud to call home – Brixton. We acquired a modest 25-seater shop on the high street, and quickly gained a reputation for serving the best panini’s and coffee in town. Our family team expanded as we recruited local staff, and by 2009, it was time to move a few doors down to larger corner premises on Brixton Road.
This enabled us to offer indoor and outdoor seating for up to 140 people. Today, San Marino is one of London’s most iconic coffee shops, used for directions and first dates alike. We’re proud to have served three generations of customers in our newly-facelifted café, which combines a laid-back atmosphere with a warm welcome. We have many regular clients who know our baristas and chefs will prepare everything just how they like it, and we’ve also developed strong working relationships with Lambeth Council and local businesses.
Where Are We Now?
A great deal has changed since we started brewing Arabica coffee in a converted jeans shop – in particular dietary requirements. Indeed, moving to our current premises enabled us to expand our food menu. Our iconic paninis are now served alongside freshly cooked pasta dishes, full breakfasts and main meals with vegan, vegetarian and halal options. We’re always updating our food offerings, while retaining the Italian heritage that underpins our reputation.
We’re rightly proud of our food and coffee, as well as the friendly service we provide to generations of loyal customers in our vibrant café and al fresco seating area. One of the reasons we’ve achieved such iconic status in Brixton is the consistency of service we offer. This is mostly thanks to our enthusiastic and loyal staff, most of whom have been with us for decades. San Marino is one of very few family-run businesses in Brixton, and our staff (in particular café manager Dorina) are regarded as friends by our regular customers. From a quick grab-and-go snack to a leisurely catch-up with friends over smoothies and espressos, San Marino has provided Brixton’s pulse for generations.