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Meet Giovana, Tati, and Peter of the Brick & Bell Cafe in La Jolla and Pacific Beach

Today we’d like to introduce to you Giovana Lewis, Tati Ribeiro, and Peter Watry.

Giovana and Peter, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Brick & Bell Cafe opened in 2003 in La Jolla. We opened two other locations over the past five years in Pacific Beach and La Jolla Shores. The people of La Jolla have been so supportive over these past 16 years… as customers, as friends, and even as financial lenders when we needed a loan. La Jolla has been a gift to us.

We bake over 200,000 scones per year along with a lot of other treats, and we are busy roasting our coffee as well. The operation is almost 24 hours per day now and we are very lucky to have many great people working with us. Seven of our cashiers have married customers over the years… which is really going the extra mile.

Peter is the founder and can be found running around between cafes and office. Giovana and Tati Ribeiro run the day to day operations as partners. Peter can name 5000 customers by name and 10,000 people have his personal cell phone number… he is always available. (858) 344-6667 by the way. 🙂

As the business grows, we are trying to find ways to help our people and our community more. That has been a rewarding and challenging adventure.

Has it been a smooth road?
Zero problems. Haha! 🙂

All small businesses have financial trouble at times, plumbing (all the time), electrical panel exploding, roof leaking… but we have developed a process to solve these problems. Some examples that are funny now:

Our oven died and we bought 500 Krispy Kreme donuts to offer at the cafe (we now have more ovens).

During the Southern California Electrical Grid outage of Sept 2011, all cafes in San Diego County had to throw away their milk as it had been without refrigeration for some 16 hours. When the power was restored early the next day we had people on standby in Temecula (no power outage) and quickly drove down 50 gallons of milk. Even the local Vons had to throw away their product. We were a very busy cafe that day.

Once in the early years we had a real VIP visitor and his group… this was great! But our espresso machine died at that moment. We sent one of our girls to RUN down to another coffee shop (competition) and ordered all the lattes we needed… then we poured them into our cups and served to the VIP group… we could not turn them away.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
We bake everything ourselves and roast our own coffee. Our scones are second to none (recipe from England) and our coffee is designed for our customers. We are in the third wave of coffee consumption in California with coffee having more ‘fruity’ notes and lighter roasted, but our customers want coffee that tastes like “coffee”.

Our coffee is a warm hug in the morning. A perfect medium roast that we brew every ten minutes and still run sometimes.

Best scones in America.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
I think our city is fine. Each corner is so different it is hard to generalize.

But I would say that the homeless population is our biggest challenge. We are working proactively to help people on the streets in La Jolla AND actually have had success in finding housing for two of them in the past month… with the help of public and private agencies.

But I would say the future is not bright with the homeless situation, and we have to be very protective of our staff and guests. We are taking a firmer stance with this problem as we try and help.

Pricing:

  • Scones: $1.00 🙂

Contact Info:

  • Address: 928 Silverado St.- La Jolla
    2216 Avenida de la Playa – La Jolla
    976 Felspar St. – Pacific Beach
  • Website: brickandbell.com
  • Email: PW@brickandbell.com
  • Instagram: @brickandbell
  • Facebook: Brick and Bell Cafe

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