Cafe Dulce, a popular spot in the USC Village to indulge in coffee, tea, donuts and other specialty goods, is adding alcohol to their menu.

Cafe Dulce in the Village, which opened in Dec. 2017, is the company’s third location. This will be the first of Dulce’s stores to begin serving alcohol.

Photo by Katie Borquez
Photo by Katie Borquez

James Choi, founder of Cafe Dulce and managing partner for Dulce USC Village, said he is hoping the store will begin serving alcohol by December. He said they have completed their application to serve alcohol and are just waiting for approval from the Department of Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC).

Choi said the eatery is planning to begin with selling beer, with an emphasis on offering specialty brews.

“Obviously you can go to dozens of places to get the same beer served in bottles or tap,” Choi said in an email to Annenberg Media. “We want to serve beers that other places aren’t serving and beers that we personally love drinking.”

Choi also said Cafe Dulce plans on offering red or white wine and is considering the idea of selling sake. However, he doesn’t want the menu to become too complex.

“We don’t want to be the place with dozens of options, but what options we have, we want to be special,” Choi told Annenberg Media.

Although a popular location, a coffee shop may seem like an unlikely place to stop for a beer. There are a number of stores and restaurants in the Village already where students can purchase alcohol, including Trader Joe’s, Rock and Reilly’s and Target.

Some students believe it’s abnormal for a coffee shop like Cafe Dulce to serve alcoholic beverages, but they are not necessarily opposed to the idea.

"[It’s] kind of strange because it’s a cafe, but it makes sense [because] I know some students like having a beer or two with their meals or even just studying, too,” said junior Dayanara Saucedo.

Senior Noelle Hoffman agreed it seemed odd to sell beer at the coffee shop. However, she added, “if it were cheap enough, I would go anywhere for beer.”

Other students were on the opposite side of the spectrum, though.

“[Dulce] should stick to donuts and sandwiches,” said Anjali Parikh.

According to their Kickstarter, Cafe Dulce strives to “serve guests, not sell products”. Being in an area dominated by college students, adding alcohol to their menu may be an easy way to cater to their prospective guests.

Correction issued Oct. 23, 2019 4:45 p.m.: A previous version of this story stated Cafe Dulce’s other two locations already serve alcohol. The story has been updated to reflect that Cafe Dulce in the USC Village will be the first of it stores to serve alcoholic beverages. Annenberg Media apologizes for the error.