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La Mo to open Caf with fresh locally roasted coffee, craft beer
la mo
Caf La Mo, which is set to open by summer time, will feature fresh, locally roasted coffee and espresso in addition to craft beers, quick on-the-go food and deli options, smoothies and much more in Shoppers Eden on E. Main Street. - photo by CARA HALLAM/The Journal

Name of Business: Café La Mo

Location: 310 E. Main Street

Contact: (209) 632-6655

Hours of Operation: 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday - Wednesday; 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday - Friday; 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

History of Business: One of Turlock’s favorite Mexican restaurants, La Mo, will soon expand their services to include a brand new café in the vacant space directly across from the restaurant in Shopper’s Eden, fulfilling the void of fresh coffee and quick “on-the-go” food options in the downtown area.

Although La Mo owner Gloria Smallwood says that the business recently received the needed permits for the expansion through the City’s Building Department, there is currently no set date for Café La Mo to open due to ongoing construction. However, Smallwood says that she is hopeful the Café will open just in time for the summer season so that customers can enjoy various smoothies and coffee drinks in their charming outdoor patio.

Known for using fresh, locally grown ingredients and produce in their restaurant, the owners of La Mo will continue doing so with the opening of their Café, as they exclusively brew locally roasted Clayton Coffee beans from Modesto. With over one hundred organic coffees, dark roasts, and a variety of flavored coffees and blends in both decaf and regular, Clayton’s Coffee and Tea sources coffees from small family farms grown in South America, Central America, Africa, Indonesia and North America. Additionally, Café La Mo will feature local micro-roasters on a bimonthly basis, highlighting freshly brewed coffee from other local roasters in Turlock.

Café La Mo’s house blend from Clayton’s Coffee will be available as a “community coffee,” making the café the first of its kind to do so in Turlock. By allowing customers to choose how much to pay for a cup of their house blend coffee, Smallwood says that she hopes it will help those who can’t afford the regular $1.50 price while also encouraging others who can to help by making donations.

“No one else does this ‘community coffee’ thing in the area,” said Smallwood. “Basically, people can serve themselves the house blend and pay whatever they want to or can pay for it, so the regular $1.50 price is kind of more like a suggested donation. We’re hoping that it will help people who can’t afford to have it, and that others who can afford it maybe will put in a little bit more from time to time.”

In addition to various coffee and espresso options, Café La Mo will feature fresh smoothies, small plates and quick “on-the-go” items for customers who want to grab La Mo’s fresh food, such as a breakfast burrito, without having to wait for a sit-down lunch or breakfast.

“We’ll be offering lots of new items that have our signature Latin twist, as well as some of our popular items from our existing menu at La Mo such as the jicama salad,” said Smallwood. “We really wanted to provide a quick breakfast or lunch option for people who can’t come in and wait 30 minutes to sit down and eat, but still want the fresh, delicious options that we have here at La Mo, just already in the deli and ready to grab and go.”

For those who prefer an ice cold craft beer during the hot summer months, Café La Mo will also feature various craft beers, including options from local micro-breweries such as Dustbowl Brewing Company who opened the same week as La Mo in August 2011.

“I think it’s going to be really great since we don’t have anything like this downtown where people can just grab and go,” said Smallwood. “Most places downtown have a long waiting time for lunch, so this will give people an alternative to just grab something really quick, that isn’t fast food but is freshly made like everything else from La Mo. Our main reason for opening this was to have a downtown coffee shop for the community to have a place to meet together, which is what we’re all about and part of our philosophy at La Mo.”

Smallwood also shared that making the space into a café felt like a natural transition, as it had been part of her late-husband’s vision over 15 years ago, when the space had been previously available.

“That space in Shopper’s Eden was open over 15 years ago, before we had all the different Starbucks locations in Turlock, and even then my husband Mark really wanted to try to get a Starbucks to open in that space because he felt that downtown needed a coffee shop,” said Smallwood. “Now, since Mark is gone and the space became available, it felt like a given that we should turn it into our own coffee shop there. It’s kind of a way for us to fulfill his vision.”

Business Specialty: fresh, locally roasted coffee and espresso; craft beer; fresh pastries and sweets from a local bakery; grab and go deli options including salads, wraps, and various small plates with a “Latin twist”; smoothies; sangria; breakfast, lunch and dinner at La Mo.