Andrea Jones has been dreaming of a community hub of her own for almost 20 years. (Photo by Lunch)
“I’ve been thinking about doing something like this since I was eight years old,” says Andrea Jones, owner of Stellar Brew (flanked by Chevron and Napa on Main Street in Mammoth).
Jones bought Stellar Brew, a funky little café housed in a stand-alone blue building, last June.
For Jones, it’s been a homecoming of sorts, as Stellar Brew is the former home of the Looney Bean. While in high school (Jones graduated from Mammoth High in 2000), she worked at the Bean, and it was that experience which shaped what Jones wished to create herself: a community hub with good food and good company.
“This place had a vibe when I was here before. I wanted it to live and breathe again. So I put in some couches and invited some friends over.”
The twist that Jones has put into her equation is the food. Yes, Stellar Brew has everything you’d expect of a putative coffeeshop (100% organic, fair trade Black Sheep coffee, tea, fresh-baked pastries, et. al.), but she also makes good food from good ingredients.
Where do those ingredients come from? Joint orders with Sierra Sundance, the local health food store located, ironically, two doors down from the Looney Bean’s current location in the Do-It Center mall. And in the summers, all of her produce is locally grown.
So when Jones makes you a $7 sandwich, figure that she’s spending $4 just on the ingredients.
“I want to feed people healthy food so they’re happier.”
Which seems patently obvious. That what you put into your body affects how you feel. But a lot of folks don’t make the connection.
“I’ve personally healed myself [from various ailments] through food,” she says. Spoken like someone who spent five years after high school studying holistic nutrition.
A particular subgroup of folks who are making the connection are pregnant women. Jones says no less than five pregnant women have told her they like to eat at Stellar because it’s easy and it’s good and oftentimes, they’re just too tired and too busy to prepare food for themselves.
Sheet: How many overall health converts do you have?
Sheet: You’re guessing.
Jones (laughing): Right. I have no idea.
Jones does have an idea about who to thank for allowing her to fulfill her dreams: Dad.
When they both looked at the property last year and studied the terms of the lease, Dad’s first reaction, recalled Andrea, was, “That’s what you’re supposed to do.”
He thought it filled a need, she said.
Now Andrea has a full list of Daddy-dos and honey-dos for Dad and boyfriend Scott Walker. “They work for turkey sandwiches and breakfast burritos,” she says with a smile.
Her next project? She wants to revamp her behind-the-counter space so it actually looks like a home kitchen. In fact, that was one of her initial ideas when she bought the place, to change the name to “Home Coffeepot and Food,” so people would say, “Let’s go home for lunch.”
Another idea was to rename it “No Regrets.” I don’t believe in regret, she said, referencing those who lament the most recent cheeseburger they might have just eaten.
Sheet: Is it regrets you don’t believe in, or do you just not like whiners?
Jones: Both. If people are whining, they’re not good company, and they affect the energy in the space around them.
Has Jones’s lifestyle changed since she bought the place? Absolutely. She and two other bakers are up by 4:45 a.m. each morning, and all her pastries are fresh-baked and made from scratch every day. She offers gluten-free, vegan and low sugar alternatives.
“I’m in bed by 9 every night. My social life is the coffeeshop, pilates with Sabrina [Nioche at Movement in Mind Pilates] and cross-country skiing.”
Jones will also carry beer in three months. It figures she should since the place is called Stellar Brew.
“Communities that survive and thrive invest in each other,” said Jones. “I’m not in this for the money. I want to offer something to my community.”