We had the good fortune of connecting with Peter Rodriguez and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Peter, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
Our main focus from the jump was and still is our community. San Bernardino has been through a lot in the last couple of decades from street violence to bankruptcy, and a terrorist attack. All casting a dark shadow of negativity on the city and painting an unfair image of our community. It became popular for neighboring cities to talk down on us and eventually, our community joined in. Over time that negativity has overshadowed many of the great things happing in San Bernardino, and we wanted to change that. We wanted to create a space to cultivate community, where inspiration happens and ordinary days are enjoyed. Central City Coffee is the intersection where our two passions of community and coffee meet. A communal space where we pour back into our community one cup of coffee at a time.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
We are beyond excited to be building our business in our community. To most, that might seem like a small feat but it is a huge deal for us. It has been far from easy, we try to see challenges as opportunities because everything is a learning experience. We remind ourselves to take breaks from work, luckily we have one another to help combat fatigue and check in on our mental health. Taking care of yourself is critical to having happiness in your personal and work life. There are still so many unforeseen obstacles ahead since we’ve recently stopped our weekly pop-ups and have focused on opening a full-blown storefront. nevertheless, our story keeps us going, our shared experiences in San Bernardino is what makes us so relatable to our community and what will make our Central City Coffee storefront a home away from home for so many.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
We would first have to take a trip over to the west side of town for Mitla Café. Mitla has been around since the 30s and is the birthplace of the hard-shell taco! My favorite is the Taco, Enchilada, and Chile Relleno combo plate with a michelada. Then we head over to the Garcia Center for the Arts. This place is a sanctuary right in the middle of San Bernardino. A place where the old adobe walls seem to block out the sounds of the city. There is always something happening at the center. Art exhibits, pottery classes, food distribution to the unhoused, and fresh produce is picked at the community garden outback. We could easily spend the rest of the day there. During this visit, a must is Rosa Marias Mexican food on the north end of the city. Their Chile Relleno Burrito is up there with the best of the best and their hot sauce will curl your tongue just enough to have you wanting more. We would head over to wildwood park at the base of the San Bernardino mountains. This park has a great view of the massive Arrowhead landmark etched on the side of a mountain facing all of the city. The arrowhead is host to several Native legends, many of which were attributed to the Cahuilla. Scientists believe it was formed centuries ago when an earthquake struck the area causing the mountainside to shift, leaving the shape of an arrow. To me, the arrowhead is a symbol of home. The Arrowhead is a pinnacle experience of living in San Bernardino. Regardless of what generation you belong to, the Arrowhead symbol is part of our shared experience as locals. This is why we chose the arrowhead as the Central City Coffee logo. From there we’d head over to Blair Park to hike Little Mountain, a hill in a San Bernardino neighborhood with views of the city perfect for golden hour. The following day would be spent downtown. First some boba at Viva La Boba, in the Breezeway ally. Then a walk to the California theatre to catch an off-Broadway production followed by lunch at King Kebob, the best Mediterranean mom and pop in San Bernardino. This city holds so much history and hidden gems. Even with all its flaws, it is easy to see why so many people are invested in helping lift San Bernardino. We cannot wait for The Central City Coffee storefront to show what greatness San Bernardino has to offer to guests and people traveling through.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
The first shoutout goes to our Parents! Alejandro and I are both first-generation Mexican Americans. As kids of immigrants, we learned so many life lessons in tandem with our parents but along the way, they taught us resilience, optimism, and grit. All of which have been instrumental in keeping us grounded and determined. With that being said, San Bernardino has to get the biggest SHOUTOUT. Since we started this journey we’ve had several local non-profits and organizations like The Garcia Center for the Arts, JUSTSB, IE Prism Collective, Uplift San Bernardino, and the Peoples Collective for Environmental Justice to name a few. Thank y’all for hosting us for pop-ups, constantly reposting us, and sharing our mission. With their support and encouragement, they have poured into us the sense of community we strive to pour into San Bernardino through Central City Coffee.
Other: kickstarter: Central City Coffee: Pouring back into our community
Angelica Gutierrez Fabian Leon Torres