A coffee shop for all…especially car lovers

By Andrew Alonzo | aalonzo@claremont-courier.com

Thirteen years ago, automotive enthusiast Steven Solis was well known in the community for his work under a car hood instead of behind the coffee counter.
In 2008, Mr. Solis opened his body shop, Prestige Gleam, where he repaired and restored clients’ classic and exotic cars. But after years in the industry and the growing popularity of the shop, Mr. Solis said that he started to feel his body wearing down from the intense work. Later, he realized that he might not be able to keep up with the labor involved in restoring rare cars forever.
Today, the repair shop is his side hustle with coffee having now taken over his schedule and life—in a good way. In 2018, Mr. Solis combined his passion for everything automotive with an idea of starting a coffee shop and created his second business, Rev’d Up Coffee, located on one of California’s most iconic roadways.
“We’re on Route 66, so it kind of gave us the idea of making it like an automotive style [setting]…so kind of all car enthusiasts [have] a place to kind of come and meet up…It does attract a lot more people than just car enthusiasts though,” Mr. Solis said.

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Encouraged by his wife to open the business three and a half years ago, Mr. Solis admitted that he didn’t know anything about running a coffee shop at first. He said one of the reasons he even considered opening one was because of its prime location on the busy street of Foothill Boulevard adjacent to the Claremont Colleges. He was not wrong.
Opening up a small business was of course challenging at first for Mr. Solis. However, his hunch about having a prime location soon paid off as students and the community began supporting his business venture on a daily basis. Thankful to the community, Mr. Solis explained what it was like behind the scenes owning a small business.
“It takes a lot of persistence to have a business that’s going to thrive, like you can’t only be here halfway. It’s going to take sacrifice from my family…but in the long run, this is what is supporting our family. And you know, it’s not only supporting my family, but all the employees and their families too,” he said. “What we make here we reinvest back into the coffee shop. As our patrons come in and support us, it’s directly supporting the people that you see inside of the shop.”
With an emphasis on cars and motorcycles, both in and outside the shop, Mr. Solis said he sometimes sees nervous customers circling around the shop in their cars because of the stigma surrounding motorcycle coffee shops. But, apart from the hot rod cars, motorcycle parts and rat-fink memorabilia in the windows of the shop, Mr. Solis makes it a goal of his and the employees to provide over the top customer service and make everyone feel welcome. And they do a pretty good job. Whenever customers walk in, they’re not only met with the aroma of freshly brewed coffee, but also are greeted by a barista with a peppy “Hi, welcome.”
“This is honestly the ‘funnest,’ most fulfilling job I could have ever asked for. You get to meet the community…I know so many people in the community now and it’s like you just love to be here for the community,” Mr. Solis explained.
Since the shop opened, they have partnered with Stumptown Coffee Roasters, a company based in Oregon that supplies them with freshly roasted grounds weekly—or as frequently as Mr. Solis needs them. In addition to premium coffee, the shop also serves bagels, breakfast sandwiches and sweet treats including cake and Danishes to satisfy customers’ appetites.
Mr. Solis said some of the fan favorites include the Easy Rider and the Cold Start. He says many customers get the Cold Start in the morning because it helps get them revved up for the day.
“We make everything to order,” he said. “[If] people are in a hurry, they can come here and not only get their coffee, they can get coffee and their breakfast. We built the food menu upon what people were really needing and wanting.”
Though COVID-19 severely impacted businesses in Claremont, the traffic at the shop never actually stopped. That’s because throughout the pandemic—and the present day— the shop has not closed down even once. Mr. Solis explained that with essentials being hard to come by and purchase for many residents, he converted Rev’d Up Coffee into a small convenience store when times got rough during COVID. The shop, deemed an essential business, was able to supply residents with toilet paper, disinfectant wipes and other practical items that Mr. Solis was able to purchase in bulk.
Acknowledging their competition in Claremont, an area with a surplus of coffee shops, Mr. Solis said it’s the shop’s unique theme and friendly atmosphere that gives Rev’d Up Coffee its special charm.
“It’s like every day is a party here and people are just coming over to hang out, like that’s pretty much what it is. I think without the community, there would be no us, for sure,” he said.
For more information about Rev’d Up Coffee, call them at 909-447-0314. The shop hours are easy to remember if you think of the number seven: they’re open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., 7 days a week.

 

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