Charles Babinski, co-founder of the dynamic Los Angeles coffee shop chain Go Get Em Tiger with Kyle Glanville, announced in an internal Slack memo several days ago that he is leaving the company as of tomorrow, though he will retain his place as a co-owner. The award-winning duo first opened G&B Coffee eight years ago after working together at Silver Lake’s Intelligentsia Coffee, itself one of the city’s most highly-regarded coffee bars.
In the memo, obtained by Eater, Babinski portrays the departure as amicable: “This is a sad moment for me and arriving at this point was a long journey. Ultimately, I feel it is clear that this is the most sensible path forward. It will be hard to say goodbye.”
When asked for comment, partner Kyle Glanville issued the following:
It’s almost hard to believe, but it’s been nearly 8 years since Charles and I started this crazy journey together. That’s at least one full tour of duty in startup mode. Over our time working together, I have not only had the fortune of witnessing his incredible talent as a coffee pro, but also his enormous heart, his wisdom, and his ability to see the World with a perspective that is truly his own. Charles has given me and the GGET community many gifts, but perhaps his greatest gift is in how he uplifted and encouraged the people he worked with to excel in their own work and find their own paths. He has gained near universal respect in the coffee industry, and he truly backs it all up. Whatever his next move ends up being, I will be the first person in line to see it.
Glanville and Babinski opened G&B Coffee as a pop-up inside Sqirl in 2012, pursuing a belief that the traditional cafe model needed tweaking, refinement, and improvement from both a service and coffee perspective. The duo went on to open a full G&B Coffee inside Grand Central Market to wide acclaim in 2013, adopting a bar-style service that eschewed a queue system, something many other third wave coffee bars have embraced since. In addition, coffee aficionados will know that G&B tweaked contemporary coffee service with pre-dosed, pre-ground espresso shots, smaller batch brewed drip coffee, and the incorporation of creative barista competition-style drinks like the Business and Pleasure, a split espresso shot served with a chaser of carbonated hoppy tea and an iced shaken nut milk latte.
The pair eventually opened Go Get Em Tiger in Larchmont Village, incorporating much of their G&B model under a new name. That brand has continued to expand both in scope and footprint, adding a food menu and teas as a sustainable revenue source within the coffee bars. Babinski won the U.S. Barista Championship in 2015, a competition that tests the service and coffee brewing skills of baristas. The next year the company opened a second location in Los Feliz, followed by outlets in the Arts District, Highland Park, Hollywood, and most recently in Culver City. Go Get Em Tiger has even begun roasting its own coffee, including Minor Monuments espresso blend, as well as single origin beans.
In his Slack memo to staff, Babinski said that he regretted seeing the company grow to the point that he wasn’t able to get to “know each person who joins on,” though he offered the chance to meet with employees post-departure. It’s unclear what Babinski will do next; Glanville remains in charge of day to day operations, including the company’s large commissary and roasting space in Vernon, south of Downtown. Babinski has not divested from the company, but is stepping away operationally.