There’s a new Joe downtown in Carson City
Appeal Staff Writer
When customers walk into Joe Mango’s Cafe, it will have a different look than its predecessor, Java Joe’s, a coffee shop that has added an alternative feel to downtown Carson City for nearly 13 years.
Wednesday was John Davis’ last day to rise at 3 a.m. to open the shop, drink his double espresso short (sometimes three a day), and work a 10-hour shift.
Only Wednesday was different – he shed a few tears with long-time employees.
“I loved to get up and get down there,” he said during his last shift. “But a small coffee house is a seven-day job. My last day off was Thanksgiving.”
The new Joe Mango, real name Jody Valente, is taking it beyond cappuccino.
Joe Mango’s Cafe will have a cottage/tropical theme. Valente, 35, said he chose the name because he’s from Hawaii, and it’s “a Hawaii thing.” His cafe will serve an upscale deli menu and the coffee drinks familiar to regulars.
“We’re going to have a focus on food, drinks, no alcohol, salads, hot sandwiches, fish tacos and breakfast sandwiches,” he said.
The shop’s cottage atmosphere will include Spanish impressionist paintings, ficus and banana trees.
Valente will close the business today and reopen Monday.
He has 15 years in the restaurant business as a general manager and executive chef. Valente said he opened his business at 319 N. Carson St., his first restaurant, because it was a good decision in an upbeat market. Java Joe’s had seven employees, who will all transfer to the new restaurant.
The 2,000-square-foot dining area will be partially repainted yellow and green. The motley collection of wall art is gone. The beaten and battered chairs and tables have mostly been removed.
Though he’s replacing one of Carson’s most popular independent coffee shops, he’s yet to make a cup of coffee there. Starbucks is his daily ritual.
“This is not just a coffee place,” Valente said. “Food first, coffee second.”
Davis, 50, has no plans to sell the building, which also houses his wife’s dance studio on its top floor. His corporation bought it in 2002 for $428,000, according to assessor records.
The Davis family enjoys historic things. The 4,200-square-foot Kitzmeyer Building, built in 1873, was a tie to the past. He will continue working at Northstar-at-Tahoe as a lift mechanic and participate in downtown events.
“My future plans are to do all those things I’ve been meaning to do for the last 12-and-a-half years,” Davis said. “House projects, hobbies, restore old snowmobiles, have a life with my family and kids.”
The cafe will be open 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Customers can purchase newspapers there or use its free wireless Internet.
• Contact reporter Becky Bosshart at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1212.