The owners of Helvetica — the new, design-inspired café on Detroit Avenue — had hoped for a "soft opening" on Wednesday.
It was anything but soft.
As soon as the doors opened, at 7 a.m., customers streamed in.
The rush didn’t let up until the café closed in the early afternoon. At times, every seat was taken.
It's not really too big a surprise. After all, the café's Facebook page had nearly 500 "likes" before a single customer had been served.
“We were expecting it to go soft,” said a laughing co-owner Edward Padilla, “that’s why we called it a soft opening.”
The owners said word spread quickly of the highly anticipated café — with its Latin American juice selection, Rising Star coffee and food options that include sandwiches, soups and salads.
“You’ve got to see the crepes,” said co-owner Juan Vergara. “They’re amazing.”
Vergara, who opened the popular Barroco last year with his father, Carlos, partnered with friend and designer Padilla to open Helvetica — named after the popular font.
The grand opening is set for Friday, with live entertainment slated for later in the evening.
Helvetica is located in the space previously occupied by Grand Poo-Bas Record Shoppe at 11823 Detroit Avenue — just down the street from Virginia Marti College of Art and Design.
In other words, it's the perfect spot for a café that’s “geared toward the design community.” There’s also a “mini-design library,” with customers encouraged to pull reference books from the handcrafted shelves.
“Grab a book and get some inspiration,” Vergara said. “You’re sure to find someone who’s working on a project. If you need a graphic designer, you will be able to find one here.”
“But this will be a meeting place for everyone.”
Each day, the Helvetica will serve juices, coffee and muffins from 7 to 11 a.m.
Then, the full menu — including sandwiches, soups and salads — will be offered the rest of the day until 8 p.m., every day of the week.