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What It Is Like to Open Shop During a Pandemic: Cafe Pruvia 

(LA Trend) — In addition to the usual challenges of opening a restaurant in a foodie hub like Los Angeles, today’s restaurateurs face the additional uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic. Luckily, local business owners aren’t letting the virus cancel their plans to bring new and innovative cuisine to hungry Angelenos. 

Tyler Nakazaki didn’t let these obstacles stop them from bringing gourmet coffee and boba drinks to Gardena. Brothers Tyler, Kyle, and Cody opened the cafe on May 21 after over a year of renovations and planning. It is their first food business. 

“We grew up in the South Bay area and always felt there was not much to do past 11 pm since none of us were into going to bars or clubs. We would drive 20-30 miles sometimes to find a café that was open late to hang out,” Tyler said. “We decided to open a place that we would enjoy coming to and somewhere that we felt the community needed.” 

The dessert spot and late-night cafe offers a wide selection of drinks. While most boba cafes skimp on coffee selections, Tyler says he and his brothers studied the fine art of coffee for years before deciding on their current menu offerings.

“We wanted to really showcase great drinks on both the boba end and coffee which was a huge challenge. Gardena is very well known for its food, but also there are no places to sit down and enjoy dessert,” Tyler said. “We came up with a menu that catered to both people who love boba drinks as well as specialty coffee and a few items that will be made to order for desserts.”

Cafe Pruvia is known for its Spanish latte which combines espresso, milk, condensed milk, and a cinnamon stick. The Lavender Matcha Latte is another popular option on the coffee side of the menu. Tyler says their signature boba drink is the passion fruit green apple with jasmine which is their mom’s favorite drink. Unlike other boba cafes, Cafe Pruvia uses fresh milk cream in all their drinks instead of non-dairy powder.

Due to the current dining restrictions and safer-at-home orders, Cafe Pruvia has switched to an entirely to-go menu of drinks. Tyler says they plan to add the made-to-order desserts once restrictions ease. 

“We were definitely not expecting Covid-19 to hit so it was a huge curveball and we had to rewrite our whole operations and business plan on the fly,” Tyler said. 

Tyler, his brother Cody, and their Dad work six days a week in the cafe. They were unable to follow their previous plans to hire additional staff. They follow city protocol and require both guests and staff to wear masks. Other safety protocols include frequent handwashing and disinfecting of the tablet guests use to order drinks. 

“This pandemic was very unexpected. We had to come up with a new game plan for everything in order to adapt,” Tyler said. “It has given us some time to streamline our operations and menu, so it hasn’t been as bad as some may think for us.”

Tyler says the community has been supportive of the cafe and interactions between guests and staff have been friendly. In the future, he has plans to expand to several locations across Southern California and eventually roast their own coffee beans and create a coffee brand.  

“We want to continue to focus on the integrity and quality of not only our drinks but also our service and ensure that everyone always has a pleasant experience with us,” Tyler said. “We have continued to try and focus our energy on our recipes, marketing, and ways that we can better interact with our customers through this time. Having the support of our family and working alongside them has definitely helped us all since our family is pretty close.”

Cafe Pruvia is currently open for takeout from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day except Tuesday.

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