Growing up homeless, I always wanted to make something of myself. Though it seemed impossible to break out of the cycle of poverty I was born into, I always believed there was something greater in store of me. I can remember going into coffee shops as a kid, after my dad had panhandled for money and smelling the fresh ground coffee, and pastries that I rarely ever tasted. My mind went wild in those spaces. I'd think to myself, "one day I'll be the guy behind the counter, proudly serving my product to the customers that smile and share about their day." I literally cannot remember a time that I did not want to own a coffee shop. Through an odd turn of events my family settled down in a town not to far form The Dalles, Or where we parked the bus that we were living in for the last time. Through my connection with local youth groups I found a reason to frequent The Dalles and grow roots in the community.
One of the connections I made through youth group invited me to move out of my poverty stricken home and step into a new world of middle-class-living. I was 17, paying rent, working a job, completing my senior year of high school, playing two sports and loving it. I would stop into this little coffee shop called The Riverenza on my morning bike ride to school, and be filled with those same wishful thoughts of owning a coffee shop as I ate a chocolate muffin and sipped on a cappuccino. I loved everything about the Riverenza, from the friendly conversation with the owners to the food they served. If it was a fair-weathered morning, I would sit outside in the courtyard enchanted by honeysuckle and old stone masonry, and pray for the opportunity to have something like this.
I guess someone was listening, because 7 years later, at age 24, I bought the Riverenza with my wife, and now proudly serve our product to smiling customers who share their day over a cup of coffee. After spending 3 years in San Francisco, getting married, becoming an expectant father, and experiencing a food culture that blew my mind, my mind still drifted to the riverenza. Miraculously the owner, which was a long-term friend of mine was looking to sell. Through a serendipitous meeting with a realtor friend of mine, I was able to make a deal and finally become the owner of a coffee shop. My hope is to never forget the kid that wanted to be something, and serve food and coffee to the Dalles that compares to quality I experienced in San Francisco.
401 E 10th St
The Dalles, Or 97058