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There’s a New Kid on the Block

| December 8, 2011 | 0 Comments

By Patty Ducey-Brooks

In case you haven’t noticed, Toma Sol Café is open for business at 301 W. Washington Street in Mission Hills. I met the proprietor, Seekey Cacciatore, who’s not new to the neighborhood. Cacciatore, grew up in neighboring Hillcrest and currently lives in Point Loma with her husband.

Cacciatore, I learned, did some research and knows the history of the property. She stated that she is the 4th owner. The other three focused primarily on operating a coffee house. Cacciatore’s primary objective is to run a bakery, coffee complements this theme. However, she also appreciates the sophistication of the neighborhood. So, she attended the highly acclaimed American Barrista and Coffee School, located in Portland, Oregon. According to Cacciatore, it is a “very intense” five-day course that introduces the science and art behind the specialty coffee industry. To make sure that the quality of the coffee is consistent, all of the barrista staff has received similar training. Based on what I saw and savored, the coffee prepared on site is exceptional.

In addition to sampling the coffee, I got a tour of the property, which has been slightly remodeled to provide more seating space and room for entertainment. Cacciatore has already lined up musicians to perform Friday evenings through January 20. A couple of my friends are on the schedule, including Joe Rathburn and Sven-Erik Seaholm.

Back to the subject of research, Cacciatore shared with me that she introduced herself to the neighboring businesses prior to opening the new café. She asked what they would like her establishment to offer. In addition to listening, she has reacted by providing food and refreshments that cater to the community. Healthy food, including homemade soups and salads are on the menu. Though not made on site, they are prepared by local businesses with a reputation for healthy and quality products. Paninis and ciabatta bread sandwiches are prepared on site. However, the bread is provided by Sadie Rose Baking Company, an artisan bakery. Pastries are prepared by Baked in the Sun, based in San Marcos.

Also available to the public are some new adult-oriented sodas, including GUS (meaning grown up soda). I sampled one of the bottled drinks, Dry Meyer Lemon, and found it quite to my liking.

Obviously, food and drinks are the primary emphasis of Toma Sol Café, however, ambience is also important. The café is decorated to be soothing and entertaining. That’s why artwork will be highlighted on site. Currently, photographs by local artists Robert Sanchez and Debra Tatz are on display. I’ve learned the artwork will change to reflect a “seasonal” emphasis.

As an added benefit to being in the neighborhood, Toma Sol Café will also be a drop off point for Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), which means seasonal produce grown by local, organic farmers. And, the café will also have arts and crafts events, including workshops in jewelry design, yarn creations and scrapbooks.

As I have come to appreciate through this brief interview, Cacciatore impresses me as a savvy business owner, which is reflected in the mission of the establishment. On Facebook I found this statement. “Our mission is to provide exceptional fair trade and organic coffee/espresso drinks as well as baked goods and light food prepared from high quality ingredients served with fantastic service in a comfortable and cozy environment.”

It was nice to meet Cacciatore and learn of her passion and desire to be an integral part of the community. Based on my first impression, I would state that she’s done her research and has implemented a business plan that understands the community.

I encourage you to visit Toma Sol Café and get to know the new kid on the block.

Seekey Cacciatore is excited to be in Mission Hills and is already a part of the community.

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