celebrates a decade in business
Java on Fourth
turns 10 years old
Express Staff Writer
He came, he
saw, he bought, and it flourished.
nutshell that is the story of the last 10 years of Todd Rippo’s life—excluding
playing and writing music with his band Deluxe 76, and meeting his wife,
Fourth in Ketchum is a decade old. Express photo by Dana DuGan
to the valley 10 years ago, liked the place and, using his expertise
garnered while running a café in Del Mar, Calif., opened Java on Fourth
The day he
put all his ideas in one basket was Nov. 14 1991. "I made it what I
thought would be a great combo of all the places I really loved."
says it’s "off the chart and a little weird," but adds that
"I’m not a corporate guy."
Rippo, who is passionate about music, prefers to be the front man for the
three Java’s that he still owns—Java on Fourth, the nine years of Java
on Main in Hailey, and the Twin Falls Java. At one time he also owned the
Coeur d’Alene Java, and one in Ontario, Ore.
though, "It was a timing thing." Ketchum needed a cool café,
and he was happy to oblige.
drummer, he was told not to copy one drummer but take the best from 20. He
took that advice when designing Java. "You get your own style that
way, and you throw your heart and soul into it.":
longevity is due to many ingredients, not the least of which is it’s
casual yet hip atmosphere. Rippo added to the café’s appeal by opening
Java Primo Ice Cream, which is open all summer, and a very popular hang
out for kids of all ages.
owner Todd Rippo poses with his sidekick 9-year-old Ray. Express
photo by Dana DuGan
these cafes on the corner of Fourth and Washington have turned that
corner, along with Board Bin into a happening spot, where the youth tend
to congregate and street parties are held each year. Adding to the corner’s
luster is Desperado on another corner, and The Toy Store and Bob Dog Pizza
on the other.
makes for a prime and convenient location, much appreciated by its loyal
clientele. Java also sports a commodious and sunny porch, lots of flowers
in the summer, a cozy interior where music plays, and there are magazines
to read and games to play. They serve hearty breakfasts and lunches, and
have famously huge muffins. Not too shabby.
But a few
years ago, Rippo had had enough. One day, someone mentioned they’d
noticed he’d gotten new wheels on his car. Small town-itis had crept in
while he was building his business.
consulting on a new café in Pacific Palisades, Rippo decided to stay down
in Southern California awhile.
later, his business needed him and he returned to Ketchum, married a woman
he’d met in California, and returned to running the cafés personally,
rather than from afar. He says his main roles at the café are picking the
music and menu, greeting people, being on hand to help and painting. And
he continues to make music. Indeed, Rippo’s band Deluxe 76 will be
opening for his friend, Bruce Willis, at The Mint this Friday night and
playing with him on Saturday in Boise.
way, Java has been featured in several national magazines, including
Gourmet, Town & Country, and Shape. And to keep current, Java now has
Internet access for laptop users. In the old days, Rippo says, people used
to come in and write letters and pay bills. "You got to keep up with
Java’s 10th anniversary, he plans on being there all day, and
thanking everyone who walks in the door. "This is a pretty special
place. I’m proud of it,"
Lisa, has joined him and they operate as an integral team. One of her
initiatives was to have H&H Bagels shipped in fresh from New York City
every other day. "It’s a nice time to be doing business with New
York. I feel good about it." Rippo said.
was a private flight attendant when they met. In fact, before meeting
Rippo, she had come to Sun Valley for seven years as part of the flight
crew that worked for Allen & Co.’s annual retreat, and had even been
here to live was another story. She’s gone from a jet-setting kind of
life style to scrubbing floors, fixing toilets and painting. "It was
a huge decision to move up here," she says. But her inclusion in the
business has meant a perfect score from the health department, a tighter
ship in terms of employees and everything in working order.
a process to bring it back to the level we want it," says Rippo. But
together they have succeeded in giving both the Hailey and Ketchum Javas a
bright and cheery look and a new lease on life.
have a wonderful life. I’m living the American dream,." Rippo said.