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After closing during COVID, coffee shop gets another shot in Encanto

Tommy and Daneyel Walker cut the ribbon at their business, The Mental Bar, on Imperial Avenue, Sept. 24, 2022.
Courtesy of NWB Imaging
Tommy and Daneyel Walker cut the ribbon at their business, The Mental Bar, on Imperial Avenue, Sept. 24, 2022.

Like so many businesses during the pandemic, a coffee shop in the Paradise Hills neighborhood of San Diego had to close.

This weekend, its owners made a comeback by celebrating the grand opening of a new coffee shop and café.

Original owners Tommy and Daneyel Walker had a grand opening for The Mental Bar on Imperial Avenue in Encanto.

"It was important for us to bring a community space to this neighborhood," Tommy Walker said. "Where we are, there are no coffee shops that represent who we are. So, we felt that it was important to bring something like that to this neighborhood."

As soon as it opened in 2017, their original shop called Project Reo Collective was the place to be in the neighborhood. People held meetings there, kids would do homework, and it became a watering hole for the community.

But then COVID-19 struck, and Project Reo Collective closed its doors in April 2020.

It took two and a half years to reopen The Mental Bar.

"Right from the start, with supply chain issues, waiting on different parts, equipment, everything we needed just to create the space was the hardest part," Tommy Walker said.

COVID-19 also delayed construction, Daneyel Walker added.

They hope the new location will continue to be a thriving business in its neighborhood.

"We wanted to create that third space, that space where you could come after work to commune with your neighbors," Tommy walker said. "Sit and have a cup of coffee or tea in a comfortable space, and create ideas and exchange ideas and have a meeting space."

In addition to coffee, the shop will offer teas and food with a focus on wellness.

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