In 2013, Octavio Vargas was in college, had recently lost a close friend, and needed something positive to focus on. When he met restaurateur and business owner, Carlos Contreras, who hired him on the spot, he found joy in his new job at a small café in Avenal, CA. In time, Octavio felt ready to return to Fresno and continue his studies. Upon his return, Octavio met Leo Rios, owner of Café Corazón in Fresno’s Tower District.
Leo was passionate about his roasts and had a lot to teach, and despite the steep learning curve, Octavio learned to roast coffee on his own. Café Corazón eventually closed and Octavio took his newfound roasting skills to Valparaiso Café & Roastery located in the Bitwise South Stadium building in downtown Fresno.
In October 2017, the owners of Raizana Tea Company approached Octavio and his friend Carlos about purchasing the business. An impending promotion would be forcing the family to move out of state and they wanted to see their business and downtown storefront thrive despite their absence. The timing then was not quite right for Octavio and Carlos, but in January of 2018, the stars aligned and the pair, along with new partner, Julie Lopez, were able to purchase Raizana and begin creating the entrepreneurial dream Octavio had envisioned: a combination tea and coffee roastery, wholesaler, and café.
Fulton Street Coffee opens
Fulton Street Coffee, located in the former Raizana Tea location on Tuolumne and Fulton, is officially open for business, offering meticulously selected and roasted coffee from around the world, as well as teas of exceptional quality under the Raizana name.
Café service began with pour overs and tea, and has now expanded to include espresso beverages and the shop’s specialty drink—Café con Leche, a smooth, cold brewed coffee infused with cinnamon and brown sugar, served over ice. (I tried this during my visit, and it was very good).
Fulton Street Coffee is currently open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., but soon they hope to expand their hours to 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. The business is operated by the founding partners and café manager, Elizabeth Moreno.
Inside the café, visitors can enjoy work from local artists and photographers, which is displayed prominently on the walls, and sip coffee at the bar, in a comfy upholstered chair, or outside at the umbrella table.
Be sure to check out Fulton Street Coffee next time you’re in downtown Fresno. You’ll enjoy delicious coffee that’s been roasted with passion, and served with pride and a warm smile. And check out their website here, and follow them on Facebook here.