Vision becomes reality at grand opening of Cafe 109

Cafe 109 in Fullerton, Calif. will celebrate its grand opening today.


Cafe 109, named after its address at 109 N. Harbor in Fullerton, had its grand opening on Saturday night. | Ashleigh Fox/THE CHIMES

Anna Frost, Writer

Senior Rachelle Cihonski chats with the cashier while ordering a soy latte at Saturday night's grand opening of Cafe 109. | Ashleigh Fox/THE CHIMES


Cafe 109, a ministry-based coffee shop and brainchild of Biola history professor Scott Moffatt, is celebrating its grand opening today with plenty of attention from the Fullerton community. As employees welcomed customers in to enjoy a coffee, Inside Fullerton’s “The Full Foodie” posted a rave review of the non-profit coffee shop on their website.

At mid-morning several young customers, not all from Biola, sipped iced lattes and devoured doissants — Cafe 109’s version of the famed “cronut.” The cafe is expected to fill up tonight for the grand opening party from 7 to 11 p.m., with live music between 8 and 9 p.m., according to assistant manager and sophomore Molly Goodale.


The staff, which includes Biola students and graduates, expressed their excitement for the future of the cafe and their dedication to Moffatt’s vision. For Deborah Kwak, Cafe 109 employee and Biola senior, the opportunity to work at a gospel-centered coffee house is a dream come true. After discussing with friends the idea of opening a coffee shop that could be a place with live music, lecture series and discussions, they heard that Moffatt was hiring for Cafe 109.

“It really aligned with our desire. So that’s what appeals to me, the whole vision behind [Cafe 109] — how it wants to serve the community, build relationships with the community and eventually be missions-focused and be able to support missions,” Kwak explained.

On the subject of serving, Moffatt did not skimp on the food or drinks when designing Cafe 109. All of the coffee is roasted locally in Long Beach and delivered fresh to the cafe every couple days, Goodale said. Professional baristas trained the employees prior to opening to ensure they were serving the best quality coffee. In addition, all of their food is made in-house from scratch.

“Aside from being an outreach ministry, [the goal of Cafe 109] is to serve pretentious coffee without pretentious people,” Goodale said.

Nestled among the bars and shops on North Harbor Blvd in downtown Fullerton, Moffatt began working toward his vision of a ministry-based coffee shop in 2010, according to a previous Chimes article. Despite roadblocks such as building code issues that required renovation, Moffatt remained dedicated to opening Cafe 109, employee and Biola senior JJ Carroll said. Carroll, who previously worked at a waterpark with the same vision in his hometown in Montana, said that he looks forward to seeing the impact that Cafe 109 makes in the area.

“I really feel like this is what Fullerton needs … especially right in the downtown area because looking out here at night I see all the huge lines for the bars and it’s kind of a dark place. I think Cafe 109 will be that little beacon of light that can shine through all that,” Carroll said.

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