The City of Mendota does not have a Starbucks. But Mendota doesn’t need Starbucks – the city has Da Amici, an independently owned coffee shop, and this place is so much better than Starbucks!
I first read about Da Amici in the Fresno Bee a couple months ago. Mendota resident Sam Rubio, 25, owns and runs the coffee shop, and it has become both a cafe and a community gathering point. (Check out this week’s edition of Vida to read about Sam’s older brother, Agustin, who just finished his medical residency at UCSF Fresno.)
I was in Mendota last week to interview a high school graduate (you’ll read about her in an upcoming edition of Vida) so we decided to chat at Da Amici. I got a vanilla soy latte, she got a caramel frappucino, and then we sat down at a little table to chat. Some young guys played chess at a nearby table, and a pregnant café employee took advantage of the quiet afternoon and sprawled on a couch to read a book about babies. Music played and there was art on the walls. If it weren’t for the men in cowboy hats coming in to get sweet, blended drinks, I would have thought I were in a cafe in a big city, not in the impoverished, majority farmworker town of Mendota.
I had a delicious and delightful experience at Da Amici, and I can’t wait to support this place next time I’m in Mendota!