Three months after being forced out of the Bird Road spot where1909 Café
stood for nearly two decades, owner Emilio Castro Shippers says sales are about 85 to 90 percent of where they should be.
"Fifty percent of our walk-ins have come back," he says. "A lot of people don't know we opened somewhere else."
For a few years, Castro Shippers and other shop owners at the strip mall on the corner of Bird and Red roads, including Beehive Juice Bar, knew the landlord planned to sell the property. By summer 2013, the owner had stopped renewing leases.
"None of us had more than 180 days," he says.
A six-month scramble to find a new location resulted in a much larger space on Red Road just north of Coral Way. Castro Shippers and his crew stripped the old location and moved into the new one over the course of a weekend, shuttering for business only a couple of days.
The new space is still raw. Only chalk writing on the windows announces the café's presence, and besides a fresh paint job and the old chalk menu boards, the interior walls are bare.
Yet the new space has a few perks, including more seating, a welcome change from the old 1909, when a full house of Miracle Mile office types forced many customers to grab a sandwich or salad to go rather than a seat.
They've also added a juice bar, upped the selection of homemade cookies and doughnuts, and bolstered the sandwich and salad offerings.
"We went from being in a sardine box to this huge space. Hopefully, we can grow into it," Castro Shippers says.
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It is undoubtedly bittersweet that 1909 and Beehive Juice Bar were cleared out of their high-traffic locations to make way for yet another corner pharmacy, but the move might have been a blessing in disguise. 1909 still offers the addictive cilantro chicken salad ($7.75) -- featuring a plethora of citrusy, pungent herbs -- and breakfast delivery that's a lifesaver when you're running late to the office.
As long as 1909 is successful at letting people know it's there, the place will be packed with the office lunch crowd in no time.