Fueling Santa Barbarans with caffeine since 1995
Just in time for Christmas in 1995, Yolanda Gonzalez opened up The Daily Grind at the corner of De La Vina and West Mission streets. Fast forward almost a quarter century, the gift that came early remains a cornerstone coffee shop of Santa Barbara.
Since its birth more than two decades ago, The Daily Grind has opened up a second location, 2912 De La Vina St., about 10 blocks north from the first one. The original location — which is triple the second spot in size — still pulls the majority of the customers according to Angelina Marie Rea, Ms. Gonzalez’s niece who helps run the coffee shop.
Although the business opened before they were born, Ms. Rea and her coworker Esperanza Fernandez seemed to know what customers want. When the News-Press asked the two what the most popular food item on the menu was, they did not miss a beat and simultaneously gave their answer: the breakfast burrito.
Ms. Rea and Ms. Fernandez are part of the 25-person team that operates across The Daily Grind’s two venues. Before they became members of the coffee shop, they were Dons at Santa Barbara High, from where they graduated together. Currently, the two friends/co-workers attend Santa Barbara City College together. While Ms. Fernandez is figuring out how to narrow down her studies, Ms. Rea thinks she has an idea: interior design.
Appropriate to her interested major, Ms. Rea explained The Daily Grind’s interior design, which included a sign bearing the Shell Global logo and license plates scattering the ceiling and walls like glow-in-the-dark stars. Before it opened on December 4, 1995, the venue hosted a Shell gas station.
Though no longer a gas station, the venue remains a fueling station of sorts, at least a caffeine fueling one. According to Ms. Rea and Ms. Fernandez, The Daily Grind has about 100 loyal customers who have built forming a line at the coffee shop (which could spill out of the building) into their everyday routines.
The customers don’t come back for just coffee though. Some other favorites include a chocolate smoothie by the name of King Kong (also known as “the monkey” to some customers) and a tropical smoothie by the name of Hawaii 5.0.
Baked goods also win the hearts of the regulars. Zucchini carrot muffins run out pretty quickly, according to Ms. Rea.
Any bread or muffins that customers do not buy don’t go to waste. The Daily Grind donates whatever they don’t sell throughout the day to the Santa Barbara Rescue Mission, whose goal is to help vulnerable members of the community.
The Daily Grind team plans on expanding its size according to Ms. Rea and Ms. Fernandez. Those interested in applying to work there can reach out to the shop, located at 2001 De La Vina St.