Cuesta Cafe is there to serve students during the semester, yet not many take the time to know who’s behind the counter.
The Cuesta Cafe is run by Mihee and Jun Kim, a mother and son duo who took over from the previous managers in the fall semester of 2018. With a total of 11 employees, the duo run both of Cuesta College’s San Luis Obispo and North County campus cafes.
Mihee had her first contract with the cafe for six years, from 1999 to 2005. Jun remembers he was in elementary school at the time. Her second time running the cafe started in 2018 when she was contacted by the company Fresh and Natural about the open position to run the cafe. Jun agreed to come help his mom get it running.
One of Mihee’s favorite things about the cafe is seeing students making healthy choices by eating fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods. These options are placed in various spots throughout the cafe where students can always see them.
There are a few different suppliers for these foods, but the main one is Vitco Foods, which is based in San Luis Obispo. According to Jun, the students’ favorite dish is the sweet chili chicken, which is served during their lunch service. If you were to go to the Cuesta Cafe in San Luis Obispo during lunchtime, you would find them both working.
According to both Mihee and Jun, working together does bring its own set of challenges,.
“Your mom is your mom at home, but then at work, your mom is also your boss,” Jun said.
Mihee agreed and noted that there are plenty of good moments as well. One thing she enjoys is when they are able to eat breakfast at the cafe together, which Jun cooks.
“It’s nice because he now cooks for me, and he knows what I like,” Mihee said.
When it comes to the cafe menu, Mihee said that for the most part, she does get to choose some of the main dishes they serve.
There are a few restrictions, including being able to sell any alcohol, and they are unable to sell Bang, an energy drink, to students under 18.
Jun will be leaving the cafe next year. Currently, his plans are undecided, but Mihee would like to stay. Ultimately, for now, she plans to continue running the cafe for the future to come.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the cafe will be closed while in-person classes are not in session.