The Gustine community is celebrating the opening of a new eatery in town that is already bringing in the crowds and enjoying rave reviews, all to the surprise of the owners.
“We didn’t expect the support and the success that we have been seeing since we opened,” said Erica Mejia, one of the owners of the newly opened L & E Cafe. “It has been a learning experience, but we couldn’t be happier with the support we are getting.”
L & E Café opened on July 2 and is owned by husband and wife Erica and Luis Mejia and Luis’ sister and brother-in-law Lucia Telles and Elias Perez. Hence the name L & E, since it includes all of them.
The idea of opening a café had been one that was long brewing for the four of them. Erica and Elias both had significant experience in the restaurant sector and all of them could prepare some mouthwatering dishes. So, when the opportunity came to rent a space in downtown Gustine, they decided to go for it.
Lucia said the place was in bad shape when they moved in and getting it restaurant worthy was a long process, especially since Erica and Luis were still living in Watsonville at the time. But they persevered, believing that what they would be serving up to the community would be welcomed.
They all are able to do a bit of everything, though each has a specialty. For Erica that is making the hearty and fresh bagels. They can be served alongside a selection of cream cheese flavors, or as the staple of a bagel sandwich, like the house special with chicken, roasted bell pepper, onion, tomato, Jack cheese and pesto. They also make bagel omelets, like the Baja version with mushrooms, jalapenos, egg and cheddar cheese.
Lucia’s specialty is the whole pit chicken they sell for $20. The chicken is butterflied, marinated in a secret family blend and then grilled over a charcoal flame. It’s served alongside rice, beans and tortillas and already has become an item that sells out most days.
The coffee drinks and the smoothies are also already proving to be popular items at the café. The offer regular coffees, along with lattes, a Mexican mocha, cappuccino, a café caramel, a Mexican hot chocolate and hot chocolate. Smoothies come in strawberry, mango, acai, dragon fruit as well as mocha blends.
L & E Café is open from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. It is located at 436 5th Street. For more information call (209) 733-8008.