Realizing the neighborhood was already buzzing with great restaurants and a nearby community theater, owner Jun Yoon knew the only way to improve on it was to add a memorable dessert destination to the equation. With his desire to be part of an enlivened community, he opened his café’s doors to serve frozen yogurt, cakes, truffles, and organic, fair-trade Counter Culture coffee. Within the 26-seat sweets shop, Jun doles out dollops of the Italian ice-cream treat called tartufo, as well as belgian waffles, crepes, salads, and sandwiches. He specifically designed the menu to make it an ideal spot for stopping in before the theater, after dinner, during lunch, or on the way to a castle storming. Jun also welcomes the community to his friendly confines for parties and private events.
When Kevin Brennan bought his first vinyl at the age of 7, he dreamed of a future that would somehow revolve around rock 'n' roll. Brennan's entrepreneurial spirit led him on a quest for the next "big thing" as an adult, and he dabbled in various ventures before having an epiphany while traveling in 1989. He was in San Diego, and he visited his first coffeehouse.
Kevin fell in love with the simple coffeehouse concept and had a feeling that gourmet coffee shops would soon become a craze across the nation. He instantly knew that he had found his calling, but it wasn't until he sipped coffee while watching an Asia concert that he knew what would set his establishment apart from the rest: rock 'n' roll.
Today, his trio of shops showcases the marriage of a laid-back coffee-shop vibe with rock music and memorabilia, creating a caffeinated love child in a Led Zeppelin onesie. Each location also features rock-inspired drinks, such as the Van Halen and the Dark Side of the Moo, joined by sandwiches and salads prepared fresh daily.
At Rockn' Joe Coffeehouse and Bistro, a mellifluous concert of classic tunes, friendly chatter, and good eats transform breakfast and lunch into symphonic gatherings. Diners can cull the frothy energy of various coffees, lattes, and espressos including the macchiato ($2.25–$2.95) or the Van Halen ($3.65–$6.35), which adorns lips and mustaches in vanilla and hazelnut syrup. Dive fork-first into the grilled portobello, roasted pepper, and goat cheese of a portobello omelet ($7.95), or treat tongue harbors to a sweet and savory fusion by snagging a croissant french toast and bacon ($7.95). To pillage lunch longings, sandwich stackers craft meaty packages including a grilled chicken club ($9.95), smoked salmon ($9.95), and the classic italian ($8.95)—a booming concord of ham, salami, and pepperoni best chewed to the tune of Jimi Hendrix's rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner."
Red Mango's frozen yogurt has been garnering national attention for more than five years, unlike that musician strumming away next to the foosball table in his basement. The shop earned a place atop Zagat's 2011 lists for Best Smoothie and Frozen Yogurt Chain and Best Healthy Options Among Quick Refreshment Chains. Red Mango showcases its award-winning reputation by dishing up all-natural and gluten-free yogurts—all of which are either low-fat or nonfat—that promote healthy digestive and immune systems with natural probiotics. Friendly staff members are always on hand to whip Ghirardelli dark chocolate, POM pomegranate juice, and seasonal pumpkin spice frozen yogurts into Stevia-sweetened smoothies or parfaits layered with organic granola and fruit. The toppings bar brims with crunchy cereal, cheesecake bits, and nuts, allowing creative customization.
Though it only recently opened its doors, Blue Sky Cafe has already carved out a niche as a neighborhood hangout. The laid-back eatery doesn't rely on juice mixes and canned veggies—instead, it creates juices brimming with carrots, apples, oranges, and beets, and dresses its wraps and sandwiches with vegetables fresh from the ground or plucked directly from lettuce trees. The cafe uses freshly baked bread, brews coffee on site, and even caters to events, including meetings and graduations.