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Encanto Village coffee shop brings more to community than just great drinks

Posted at 12:33 PM, Nov 02, 2023

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- At first glance, The Mental Bar seems like your typical coffee shop, but when you look closely, there’s more to this Encanto Village café.

Tommy and Daneyel Walker, the owners of The Mental Bar, said this shop was made of and continues to function off love -- love for coffee and love for the community.

Daneyel said, “There's a flow here; nothing is quick, nothing is fast, everything is made of love, and when you walk through doors, you are filled with love.”

The Walkers have lived in San Diego for decades. It’s the place where they’ve raised their four kids.

But through the years, they’ve noticed something was missing in their neighborhood.

Tommy said, “If you look at the communities on to the east of the [Interstate] 15, it's not communities where you don’t see coffee. Because coffee is considered a luxury. Even myself, I thought I wasn't smart enough to drink coffee. We wanted to bring experience and education in the areas we grew up.”

And that’s how The Mental Bar was born.

It’s heavily influenced by Daneyel’s passion for yoga, incorporating certain colors and décor that give off a grounded, calm, and peaceful vibe which is incorporated in their menu.

The Walkers also want to make it about the community, providing a space where people can come together and exchange ideas and share their talents by hosting art shows, setting up workshops, and organizing a marketplace for local vendors.

Tommy says, “Exposure is a big thing, especially in the Black and Brown communities. Our kids don't have exposure to a lot of different industries when you go to a coffee shop you don't know who's going to be sitting at the table.”

Omariyna Oulds is a 17-year-old artist, and she said The Mental Bar has given her a platform to grow as an artist.

“I appreciate the opportunity to expose my art to other people,” Omariyna said.

The Walkers said moving forward they’d like to continue to find ways to get the community engaged to open up more doors for the residents of Encanto Village.