Livin’ La Vida Lucy’s

PHOTOS BY Shannon McMillen

Bright signage and warm hellos aren’t all that welcome friends and neighbors as they drift inside Lucy’s Coffee Co. on Laurel Lane in San Luis Obispo - guests are immediately greeted by the inviting aroma emanating from the espresso machine. This cheerful coffee shop is breathing new life into the Laurel Lane shopping center and caffeine-seeking locals have shown only overwhelming support, with a line out the door on opening day. In a community home to countless coffee joints, how has Lucy’s Coffee Co. found a way to stand out? 

For one, they’re a family affair. Proprietor Lisa Hess named the shop after her 10-year-old daughter, Lucy (who was pretty excited about the idea). As you step inside, nearly everything you see was handcrafted by Lisa’s husband, Tyler. From cozy tables and benches to wall mounted planters and the retro bar, he helped bring Lisa’s vision to life and she couldn’t be more grateful, “His support is endless. He’s a handy guy to have around.” The result? Industrial diner vibes with cheeky splashes of color. 

When it comes to ambiance and guest experience, Lisa shares “I want people to feel comfortable and warmly welcomed here - families, students, and dogs too! We don’t only cater to one crowd. Lucy’s Coffee Co. serves everyone.” And serve they do, delectable treats from both SLO Baked and Back Porch Bakery. Popular choices include fresh lemon blueberry muffins, maple scones, morning buns and avocado toast. Not to mention the goat cheese and house-made pepper jelly toasts popular among regulars. For those curious about the integrity of the menu, Lisa notes “We do everything we can to use local and organic products. Our milk is organic, our paper products are compostable and all our syrups are house-made.” 

Beyond community and inclusivity, what else does Lucy’s Coffee Co. stand for? Simple, coffee. “Coffee changed my life. I love everything about it. The taste, the ritual, and the people it has brought into my life.” 

What about the challenges? Lisa levels with us about those, “It’s hard, to own a business. To be a Mom. It can be tough to wear all these hats and be everywhere at once. At the same time, so rewarding too. It’s all about finding balance. I hope my commitment and hard work will inspire my daughter a little bit.”

Lisa says Lucy’s sources beans from Coastal Peaks Coffee because “We’re family owned and want to support other family owned businesses as well. The folks there are fantastic. They helped us with the espresso machine and training staff; they’ve given so much help and support. The best thing about opening up this coffee shop has been meeting all these amazing people and hearing everyone’s story. To see how much everyone is contributing to the community is seriously incredible. We plan to put up a wall of vendor stories so people can see the journey of how everything got here.” 

Lucy’s Coffee Co. invites readers to visit on weekdays from 6:00am to 6:00pm and on weekends from 7:00am to 3:00pm. 

Originally published in Edible SLO Magazine.