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Meet April Brandenstein of Meraki Cafe in University Heights

Today we’d like to introduce you to April Brandenstein.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I am originally from New York, where I graduated culinary school. I worked in many different cafes as well as in different positions (manager, barista, server, catering). I moved to the West Coast in 2005 and in 2008 I moved overseas, to Greece, where I learned the true meaning of “Meraki”. Meraki in Greek means “to do something with Passion, Love, or Creativity; to put something of yourself into your work”.

I have been in the restaurant business for 18 years. I have always wanted to open my own cafe mainly because I have always felt the most comfortable in the kitchen; cooking for people is what enlightens my heart and makes me happy! Every place where I have worked has led me to where I am now; a successful owner of “Meraki Cafe”.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It has never been easy! It was challenging every step of the way and to be honest, still is. Every day is something new and that is what I love about it. I wouldn’t trade any hardship I have endured along the way because I have learned more from my failures than any accomplishments. One of the most challenging parts though was not having enough capital to open Meraki. I have proved to myself and others that if you have “Meraki”, you can and will find a way…

We’d love to hear more about your business.
Meraki is known for its extensive menu that focuses on items that are fresh, healthy, and made to order. We offer hand-crafted sweeteners, a huge variety of Acai bowls, Artisan sandwiches, Salads, as well as many Gluten-free, Vegetarian, Vegan and Paleo options that can satisfy even the most particular taste buds. Foremost Meraki, as its name implies, is known for the Passion and Love we put into our food and drinks which sets us apart from many other cafes.

What were you like growing up?
A far as I can remember myself, I was always in the kitchen baking or cooking and when I was not in the kitchen, I was practicing gymnastics. Gymnastics was a huge part of my childhood/school years. I was and still am a very humble but determined person; when I set a goal, I would do anything in my power to make it happen. However, over the years, I have come to the realization that I have gained more confidence in myself mainly due to the struggles I had to face to get where I am now.

Contact Info:

  • Address: 1735 Adams Ave
    San Diego, CA 92116
  • Website:
  • Phone: 619-269-9618
  • Instagram:
  • Facebook: Meraki Cafe
  • Yelp: Meraki Cafe

Getting in touch: SDVoyager is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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