In between a small church and the soon- to-open Two Brothers Italian restaurant in Big Pine, is a small coffee shop named Brewed Awakening. William L. (Billy) White and Jessica Diaz are the owners. White said the shop “took off a lot faster than I thought it would. I figured it would be slow at first, [but] it was quite the opposite,” he said. “Word of mouth had already been spreading, so people were waiting for this place to open,” Diaz added.
In November, 2017, Billy bought the building. At first, he was only “looking to lease the place to have a commissary for Billy Bob’s Grill,” but decided to purchase the building outright instead.
Billy Bob’s Grill opened in January, 2018.
Brewed Awakening officially opened on March 2, 2019.
Billy, his friend Al Patterson, and Billy’s dad undertook the 7 month remodeling process.
The couple said the building once housed a pizza parlor called Uncle Bud’s. Then it was originally the Big Pine Post Office.
The name “Brewed Awakening” came about when Billy joked around with rude awakening and the sarcasm in coffee, and Jessica came up with brewed awakening for the shop.
The couple came into the coffee business from different careers. Billy served in the Air Force, then as a Deputy for the Inyo County Sheriff’s Office.
Jessica served in the Army, became a 911 dispatcher for the Kern County Sheriff’s Department, and then worked with the FAA as an air traffic controller.
Jessica said she learned about coffee and all the basics from a friend in Mammoth at Stellar Brew, where they “went over the equipment, how the machines work with, making drinks, flavors, and temperatures,” she said.
One of the novelties of the coffee shop is a newcomer doesn’t expect there’s a Billy Bob’s Grill, which now sits behind the shop and offers a varied menu.
“Now that we are in a physical building, the menu is able to be expanded,” Jessica Diaz said. The menu has BBQ, chicken wings, chicken sandwiches, salads, ribs, and homemade chili. The couple currently buys their bakery items from local Bishop business, Hing’s Donuts, but their coffee is from Black Rifle, a veteran-owned company that sells online.
A unique food item on the menu is “The Whole Pig,” which is a 4 lb., 24-inch breakfast burrito with all the meats from bacon, sausage, ham, chorizo, potatoes, cheese, and eggs, the couple said.
Jessica Diaz said the name of Whole Pig “was kind of a joke, and when it kept selling, they kept it on the menu,” she said. Diaz said, “the Whole Pig” is sold every day, and because of its size some customers split it in half.
“It helped that this food was already known. It’s really tasty [and] they know flavor. You’re gonna be full after you leave here—they are big portions,” Jessica Diaz said. At the same time, “we are looking forward to new places being added. Whenever this Two Brothers will open up, that’s just [going to] attract more people to Big Pine,” Jessica Diaz said.
Billy Bob’s Grill is owned by Billy and currently stays behind the coffee shop, but they are looking to buy another truck so they can continue their mobile business, he said.
“Now that everyone knows the food is here, it is hard to take the truck,” White said.
When Billy Bob’s Grill was mobile, it was usually stationed on the Bishop Reservation on Tu Su Lane and US 395, and at the South end of the Big Pine Paiute Reservation, he said. The couple said the mobile truck would also be at different places, such as the Bridgeport 4th of July, and “people reserved [it] for catering events and parties.”.
One of the things the couple likes about Big Pine is the supportive community and “real good work relations with us, Rossi’s Place, [and] Copper Top,” White said. “Everyone is supporting each other. They will come in here and eat, and we’ll go over there and eat. We send people their way and we know they send people our way,” the couple said.
Jessica Diaz said she believes it is a small-town thing, and “I never known that before. I only noticed it here—people help each other out here, if you need something they are there [for you].”