Cafe 86 Sets Up Shop In Northridge
Ube, where? Ube-r there…(lip pointing optional). Maybe that was funnier in my head than in actual print. But, if you are a HUGE fan of UBE (sweet yam), then maybe it wasn’t too over the top? In mid-June, Café 86, a popular Filipino owned café known for its Ube treats and drinks, opene its new Northridge location just months after closing their location in Pasadena. Ginger Dimapsok, owner of Café 86, shares the story of how it all began from opening the original location in Chino in 2014, to adding on five more locations in Southern California and Vegas.
Tell us your story. How did you start up Café 86 and what is the significance behind the name?
Café 86 came about when my husband and I decided that it was time to have a business of our own, and with both of our love for food and drinks, a café/boba shop was an easy decision. The name came about when James decided that the café would be an amazing venue for car meets that he typically attends on a weekly basis for his Corolla group. Most of them drive a car called an AE86 and that’s where the name came from.
What inspired you to use UBE as the cornerstone of your menu?
I was born and raised in Manila and when we decided to do this business, I knew I wanted to be different from most places and also wanted to showcase our culture via the food and drinks we sell. Ube was my ‘vanilla’ when I was growing up and I have a deep love for all things ube and also other flavors like calamansi, so, it was really an easy decision to make to just make things using the flavors I loved dearly and hopefully share some of our culture in the process.
What challenges have you faced in opening, running, and managing Cafe 86?
As a business owner, it feels like you are always dodging landmines. We face numerous challenges in this industry especially now, with the current climate, we tend to have issues sourcing our products since we use real ube from the Philippines, but we are just grateful that we have enough to get by. It has also been a challenge juggling work and family life since we have 2 kids who pretty much grew up with the café. We want to make sure that while maintaining a steady livelihood for us and our employees, we also maintain a good family life with our kids.
If I were a first time customer, what would you recommend? Also, what are your most popular menu items?
I would often recommend the ube truffle to most first timers as it is truly a crowd favorite, and as far as drinks are concerned, I would always suggest the Hibiscus Calamansi iced tea or if you want something more indulgent, an Ube Monster Milkshake!
Why open a shop in Northridge?
San Fernando Valley has always been a plan for us, but we weren’t familiar with the area and didn’t quite know what would be a good fit for us, till one day, we took a drive around the town and just truly felt at home. Northridge has such a family-oriented vibe that we typically look for when scouting locations for Café 86. We hope that we can truly establish a good relationship with the locals and be able to serve the City of Northridge for a long time.
What plans do you have for Café 86 in the future?
God willing, we do hope to venture into the Bay Area and possibly, the East Coast in the future. For now, we will continue to just keep serving the communities we belong to and keep sharing our culture and love for ube with everyone.
Follow them on Instagram @cafe_86 or visit their website at cafe-86.com.
Northridge Location: 9717 Reseda Blvd., Northridge, CA 91324
Store Hours: Mon-Thurs 12:30PM – 9:00PM; Friday – Saturday 12:30PM – 10:00PM; Sunday 12:30PM – 9:00PM