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La Voz Weekly - May 10, 2009

Roy's Station

By Lucie Ashley

I entered Roy's Station in Japantown just before 8 a.m. The place wasn't hopping, but it was certainly awake and lively. The employees laughed and had fun as "Good Morning America" played on the flat screen to the left.

Roy's is a themed coffee shop modeled after the gas station that was originally on the property. I groggily asked the barista what their most popular/best drink was. She promptly rang me up for their signature mocha, and I plopped down at a table. To my pleasant surprise, my mocha was brought to my table and had been poured into a ceramic cup with a drawing on the caramelized cream surface! It turns out Roy's really does have a reason to brag, because their mochas seem to be the perfect blend of chocolate and coffee, and is my favorite mocha so far.

As I sat, I couldn't help but feel right at home as I shared a table with a student doing homework, watched "Good Morning America," and discussed it with the friendly baristas behind the counter.

As it turned out, the guy doing last-minute homework across from me was David Collins, a De Anza College student who had nothing but good things to say about the place. "This is the most welcoming coffee shop that I've been to in the area," he said.

This family-owned place was opened by Jasmine Rast and her family toward the beginning of this year. I talked with Rast, who reminisced about the time when it was her grandfather's gas station.

When her grandfather retired in 1990, the place was left empty. That is, until Rast visited Japantown and noticed there were no places for the community to converge after going to one of the many restaurants. It was then she decided Japantown definitely needed a coffee shop.

"I wanted to build a place where the community could converge and hang out," said Rast.

As I left, I knew Rast had succeeded in creating a "chill" spot where you can hang out as long as you like, all hours of the day.

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