Tara Amiel Opens RustiCoffee in the Canyon

Tara Amiel by her newly opened business RustiCoffee.


One of the greatest assets when Estate Coffee opened Via de la Paz was Tara Amiel. The food she brought to the newly-opened coffee shop was absolutely incredible – and then she was gone much to the dismay of her regular customers.

Now she’s opened a new coffee shop/eatery in Rustic Canyon.

Via’s loss is Rustic’s gain.

Opened only a month ago, word of mouth about the quality of food and general friendliness of the shop, is already making this area tucked away off West Channel Road a destination for neighbors. A customer on the way out told Amiel, “I had the caprese, OMG, it was so good!”

“The response from the community has been uniformly fabulous,” Amiel said. “It’s been great to hear how much people are now enjoying the patio space, the new menu additions and the speedier service that we’ve been able to provide since I hired more staff.”

There were nine smoothies to choose from and this editor was really happy with the “Boardwalk” – banana, double espresso, coffee ice cubes, almond butter, vegan vanilla protein powder and maca root. Next time, CTN’s editor plans to try the “Golden Hour” with mango, pineapple, banana almond butter, blue spirulina and coconut milk.

Food included keto salad bowl, avocado toast, egg salad and a banana nut butter toast. New items on the menu include a breakfast croissant sandwich, roasted chicken caprese on ciabatta and an apple-smoked ham and Brie panini.  “We plan to continue adding new items every week,” said Amiel, who has lived in Rustic Canyon for 30 years. Her boys attended Canyon Charter, Revere and graduated from Palisades High School. “Having lived here so long, I have a really strong connection to the place and the people in it.”

Amiel grew up in Urbanna, Virginia, which is small town on the East Coast, where her mother had a restaurant. She bought her first restaurant in Virginia when she was 21.

“Later I moved to London and studied at Le Cordon Bleu,” Amiel said.

She moved to LA and ran various restaurants for Hans Rockenwagner and the Marmalade Group.

In 2014, Amiel opened Uplifters Kitchen and Catering in Santa Monica which rapidly became a local favorite. “It helped me learn the pleasures of providing a gathering place for a local community,” she said.

She came to Estate in 2017, and it was named Best New Business of the Year by the Palisades Chamber of Commerce. She also took the time to get her realtor’s license and worked with Rodeo Realty.

Amiel was looking for another opportunity, and when the owner of the coffee shop in Canyon Square closed because the owner moved north, it seemed destined.

The name was important. “I wanted a name that gave customers a sense of where they were, so the name had to have Canyon or Rustic in it,” she said. “There had been a beloved coffee cart called Rustic Coffee open in the area years ago and I always loved the name. When we decided to do this, we reached out to the original owner, and she was so happy for us to continue on the name and the tradition.”

The day that CTN visited the coffee shop (and the egg salad was delicious, too, by the way), customers were helping Amiel choose an awning color for the air stream. “The color of the awning is important to me because it’s part of the identity of RustiCoffee and Canyon Square,” she said. “I can’t say there was any overwhelming consensus (we’re now down to a shortlist of 10 colors!) but it was fun to talk to people about it …..  and everyone loved being involved.”

People order coffee and food at the Airstream in Rustic Canyon, Tara Amiel is the owner.

She hopes to find staff, who love the place as much as she does. Amiel also credits Frank Langen, whose vision created Canyon Square, as a place where the community could gather and includes not only the coffee shop, but a cheese shop, Gallery 169 (art), Replenish (shopping and retail), blueview ATELIER (jewelry, clothing and homeware), DDP and In the Canyon Real Estate.

“This is a long-held dream for me,” Amiel said. “It’s great. The best office I’ve ever had – it’s on the beach.”

RustiCoffee is located at 169 Channel Road.

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