•Coffee shop helps women dealing with drug abuse get back on their feet
If you spend any time downtown you’ve probably driven past the little coffee shop next to Cornerstone Church.
And it was probably closed.
The Cornerstone Coffee Company at 1463 Fulton most recently was open only on Sundays, but that’s changing. The church still owns the coffee shop, but some new people are running it, with expanded hours and the cup of coffee they serve you has new meaning behind it.
The Light-House Recovery Program, a faith-based drug and alcohol rehabilitation program for women, has taken over the coffee shop. Money made from coffee and food sales supports the 8-year-old nonprofit, which helps women — some in a downtown live-in program and some on an outpatient basis — get back on their feet with a series of classes.
The Cornerstone Coffee Company is now open from 7 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Sunday through Friday and for light dinners — think hot dogs and chips — from 4:30-8:30 p.m. Wednesday through Friday.
The coffee shop serves Fresno-based Fabiano’s Black Magic blend of coffee and Milone Brothers’ Sicilian blend out of Modesto (and there’s a little debate going on as to which is better). There are also muffins, croissants and sandwiches available for breakfast and lunch.
The coffee shop has Wi-Fi and two walls of gorgeous windows ideal for watching downtown life.
But the coolest part is what’s happening behind the counter.
There are program employees who work at the coffee shop, but many of the women grinding the beans and serving you the coffee are going through the program itself. See, Light-House not only helps women kick alcohol and drug habits, but get other things straight in their life, too, so they can keep moving forward, says Light-House founder and director Vikki Luna.
Part of that is job training. Women already volunteer at various local nonprofits so they have something to put on their resume when they go job hunting.
“They also have to become employed and return to school,” she says. “They have to become productive and contributing to our community.”
It goes even deeper than that. Some get drivers licenses and high school diplomas through Light-House. Many who have lost custody of their children reunite with them through the program, or at least get increased visitation.
As the coffee shop grows, it will hire women who volunteer there.
The arrangement with Cornerstone Church came about because Luna is a member there. Like any nonprofit operating on a shoestring budget, Light-House is always looking for new sources of money. The pastor knew this and offered the space to Luna, who jumped at the chance.
“One woman affects so many people, her children ...,” says Luna. “You help one woman to change and it trickles down to everybody she touches.”
See the Cornerstone Coffee Company Facebook page or (559) 222-4824.
Thai Yum Yum
Downtown also now has a new Thai restaurant. Thai Yum Yum has barely been open two weeks at 1920 Tulare St. It’s in what was once the Downtown Hofbrau — which is why the walls are covered in big murals of German scenes — and later Dukes Downtown.
This is a quick breakfast, lunch or early dinner place that serves Thai food but also more generally Asian food. The family that runs it is Hmong and from Thailand.
Downtown already has one Asian lunch spot in Saigon Deli on the Fulton Mall. To differentiate itself, Thai Yum Yum is offering big combo plates. They come with the main dish and sides of Pad Thai, fried rice and an egg roll, ranging from $5.99 to $8.99.
The entrees in the combo plates include beef and chicken stir fries, a vegetarian option and meat on a stick. Yes, chicken, beef, shrimp and meatballs on skewers.
“You don’t see meatballs on a stick in a lot of places. We’re trying to do something cool,” says John John Yang, whose family owns the restaurant. John John is a nickname, by the way, because his father’s name is John. You’ll see John John behind the counter most days and his mom, La Ly, doing the cooking.
The restaurant also serves curry and noodle dishes, soup and Thai iced tea and Thai ice coffee. Fruit crepes are served for dessert and breakfast.
Thai Yum Yum is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and Saturday 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Details: (559) 231-5368.