LOONEY FOR THE BEAN
Looney Bean owners talk about their expanded location in Bishop
Looney Bean owners talk about their expanded location in Bishop
The sound of coffee beans grinding, the uplifting chatter of baristas with customers at the counter, and the expectation of tasting an excellent cup of coffee—all this can be found at the Looney Bean in Bishop.
Owners of the Looney Bean, Corrie and Dustin del Giudice, completed the expansion of their coffee shop in January. The expansion took about 7 months and “mostly my dad, husband and son [did] the construction [as well as my brother],” Corrie del Giudice said.
For the drywall, “we had a really great family friend who we call The Rock, Dennis Hodges, [who] did all the drywall on the expansion side,” Dustin del Giudice said. “I did all the tables and metal work, built the pastry case, and counters.”
The main reason for the Looney Bean expansion: “It’s a very busy spot and people appreciated it, but half the time there wasn’t any place for them to sit, and everybody kept asking for food,” Corrie said.
The expansion features recycled material from the salvage yard. The couple also recruited several local artists, who contributed two huge murals on the walls. They are really beautiful, and I think people really enjoy those. As well as the fact that we sell a lot of local art [and] we have local art cards and every corner of the walls are covered with local art,” Corrie said.
With the expansion, the Del Giudices added a quick serve, so “we make everything fresh and it usually comes out within about 10 minutes,” but sometimes depending on the crowds it can take a few extra minutes, Corrie said.
The coffee shop also has a grab-and- go case. “We have people dedicated to just making salads, sandwiches, wraps, parfaits [and] swiss oats. Also, quick serve bowls, like the Thai Buddha Bowl, Indian Curry Bowl, and the Paleo Bowl. We also have a larger pastry selection,” Corrie said.
The sauces at the Looney Bean are made in-house and are found on the sandwiches and in the salads or bowls, such as “a green goddess dressing that we make. We just make everything fresh. We make all the pesto sauce, we have a kale pesto sandwich with chicken. We make our own barbeque sauce—each one of our recipes, is unique to the Looney Bean,” Corrie said.
But a coffee shop first and foremost is about coffee.
Both Dustin and Corrie love coffee and “I really like the science of making good lattes and foam. We kind of dove feet first into the fire with the business and built it based upon personal experiences with people and customer service. [The] coffee had already established itself and Brent being a roaster, had already established such a great coffee roast. Whatever roast he does is really top notch,” Dustin del Giudice said.
The couple always loved coffee, but since buying Looney Bean it has nearly become an obsession.
“Now that we own this shop [I have gone to some] coffee tours in Seattle and a bunch of places in Portland. Everywhere we go, we Yelp. We don’t go to the easy spot; we always try to find the Ma and Pa or read about a lot of coffee shops that have really high-quality coffee. Over time, we have developed a real love for really good tasting coffee and knowing the difference,” Dustin said.
Not only has the couple found a deeper love for coffee, but they also look at the business end of other coffee shops, such as “how friendly the people are, what kind of atmosphere it has, and different things,” he said.
Corrie is not only proud of the coffee, but also of the staff who serve it.
Dustin said that he encourages his baristas to drink coffee, so they know how it tastes, but “the hard part for a lot of them is to really know good tasting espresso. Like to really pour a really good espresso shot, because a lot of them don’t like the taste of espresso. We are not a high-end espresso bar, so it’s not like we really hammer home that they need to know all the different notes, tastes, and flavors. [We] try to use the same espresso all the time, so that there is a consistency, and there is a beauty in having something consistent,” he said.
When training the baristas, “we do teach them when using the espresso machine that there is a consistency when it comes to the pour, the length, how much water, and the length of time that an espresso shot takes. If you’ve got that down, then you know you’ve got a good shot of espresso without having to taste it” he said.
“The customers appreciate the attention to detail that each barista has … I think they just appreciate the quality and the general environment. People love the vibe of the shop.”
Whether for locals or those just traveling through, “we feel strongly that the Looney Bean is kind of a center place for the community of Bishop. It is kind of a melting pot for everybody to have a good safe place to come in, hang out, and enjoy each other’s company” she said.
The couple bought the Looney Bean in 2013 from Brent Kennedy, who opened the shop in 2006. Corrie and Dustin have been the owners of the Looney Bean for 6 years.
Kennedy still serves as their roaster.
“He has been roasting for 25 years. He roasts in small batches and he gets really good coffee from micro lots around the world. He gets the highest quality of coffee [and does a great job] with his craft of roasting,” Corrie said.
Dustin’s favorite drink at the Looney Bean is the house mocha with oat milk. Corrie happens to like the C.C.R. which can be, “hot or cold [and is] great for preventing colds and boosting immunity. [The ingredients are] cayenne, turmeric, ginger, lemon, honey and apple cider vinegar,” she said.
Dustin said the motto #Fuel_your_adventure came into existence when he and a few other people were new to Instagram and were trying to come up with a good hashtag.
“It seemed like a good fit and there [were] no other posts to it, so we decided to keep it and go with it. I don’t think I heard anybody else using it, but that doesn’t mean we have a trademark on it. We also thought living in this area, you can go to Mammoth, climbing, fishing, camping, the River, and all these different things,” he said. The menu for food at the Looney Bean is based upon the season, Dustin and Corrie said.
The Looney Bean will stay open late this Saturday evening so customers can come in after the Christmas parade.