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I was never a big coffee fan as a younger person. This was before Starbucks became a huge success and was suddenly a global commodity. I grew up in the height of Friends’s popularity. If you remember, your imaginary best friends, Ross, Rachel, Monica, Chandler, Joey, and Phoebe, all hung out at a coffee shop called Central Perk. But even with all of this gradual cultural phenomenon, I did not see the purpose of coffee unless you were absolutely desperate to stay awake after pulling an all-nighter.
But then I moved to France. In France, I found coffee. It was real coffee. And it was so much more than something to keep me awake. While its caffeine properties were incredibly helpful to the student version of myself, it was there that I discovered that coffee was a unique drink. There were no two cups completely the same. Beans could be roasted in a manner of different ways to create a flavor. It was a kind of magical art made from beans. And I loved it.
It was because of coffee that I started my own quick food bar back in 2005. This was before the food cart craze that suddenly rained down upon Los Angeles and spread from there. While food carts have been around forever, if you think about even the basic hot dog cart, there was not the abundance and option that we find in food carts today. They are the mini restaurants without all of the overhead of having a set space and having to fund a staff to keep things going.
But I didn’t build a food cart. Instead, I combined all of the great things that I loved and thought that other people would love too and put it in a solid space. I have two children, I know how fast time moves. You need to be able to grab coffee and something to eat and dash away. But that food does not have to taste like garbage. That food could be made of amazingly delicious ingredients, but still be ready to take right when you need it.
I think that quick food bars, where they are, are essential to keeping business people and other busy people fueled throughout their chaotic days. When you need true energy to start your day, you need to have that cup of coffee, but you also need a balanced meal that can keep your energy running long after the caffeine wears off. This is exactly why I serve amazing breakfast burritos and sandwiches. I’m giving people all four food groups in one meal, but made with nutritious ingredients that can help keep you going throughout the rest of your morning.
I’m hoping that more people step up and embrace the quick food bar. I am not ready to wipe McDonalds off the face of the Earth, but I do think that it could use some solid competition on a local level. They may not care, but you will benefit from it.