Irma Carrillo/Courier - The Omoto Cafe in Pasadena on Friday April 1, 2016.
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Drawing customers in with a chalkboard sign outside its door featuring Darth Vader on one side and a stormtrooper on the other, the motorcycle-themed Omoto Café is a new edition to the coffee culture of Pasadena.

Omoto’s baristas are eager to serve, offering their personal recommendations and drink samples to first-timers.

Exposed brick walls and wi-fi accessible, Omoto Café joins a community of coffee shops that cater to students and writers alike.

They also take suggestions from customers for background music since the café doesn’t restrict itself to playing a particular genre.

The shop attracts motorcyclists to “Bike Nights” held every few weeks, which allow locals to bring their motorcycles and get to know others who share their passion. On Saturday mornings, bikers are invited to watch motorcycle races live on TV.

The menu can be read from a chalkboard that almost takes up an entire wall, listing an assortment of espresso drinks such as con panna, caffè americano, and various lattes.

Handcrafted specialty drinks include the salted caramel, caphe suada, the chai tea latte, and “apple pie in a cup,” an original creation by Johnathan Arevalo who is in charge of operations.

Practically the desert itself, “apple pie in a cup” is a sweet non-caffeinated, cider-based drink topped with homemade whip cream, and can be ordered as either hot or iced.

“Around this radius, there’s no coffee shops besides Starbucks, which is around the corner. Specialty coffee is very important to us, from pour-overs to cold brew, to everything else we have,” said Arevalo.

When a customer comes in with ice cream from Afters Ice Cream next door, Omoto Café baristas gladly provide coffee for an off-menu affogato.

The café’s freshly made croissant sandwiches are a healthier and less expensive alternative to “egg and sausage” sandwiches sold at coffee shops in the area. They offer choices of cheese and egg, turkey and cheese, ham and cheese, and spinach and feta.

The most popular of the croissant sandwiches is the ‘spinach and feta,’ which is as rich in flavor as it is filling.

Omoto also serves a variety of pastries made by a baker who collaborates with the shop that are sold so quickly that some of the baristas haven’t had the chance to try them.

Arevalo is partially responsible for the look of the picturesque coffee house as he painted the walls and contributed the wood paneled counter. Bill Overman, owner of the café, designed the store’s interior and created the Ducati wheel tables.

Omoto Café takes 10% off student orders, making itself an ideal place for Lancers to spend time between classes. Pasadena’s latest coffee house is conveniently located two blocks away from campus at 1271 East Green St.

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