Photo by Billy Xiong – Yosemite Falls Cafe staff
By Daniel Leon, Editor
When Yosemite Falls Café opened in the summer of 2006, it had its doubters.
According to server Lorena Torres, when the restaurant was in its early stages, there was a gentleman who would regularly walk by and say “you guys aren’t going to make it, you guys will only be here for a little bit.”
As of today, the Clovis restaurant and bar has been in business for 10 years and counting, celebrating its 10-year anniversary on July 17.
Torres, among those who have been with Yosemite Falls Café since Day 1, said there are multiple factors that coincide with helping to run a successful business.
“It’s everything,” Torres said. “It’s not only the food, it’s the service, the atmosphere, just everything combined. One without the other just wouldn’t work. I think that’s the secret [to being in business for 10 years].”
Working in Clovis for over a decade now has allowed Torres to familiarize herself with the community and connect with the people in it, which are necessary to sustain a good relationship with customers.
“It’s been wonderful meeting different people from all walks of life and getting to know them,” she said. “You develop a relationship with customers and they become your second family.”
According to general manager Roberto Torres, the secret to staying in business for a decade is having a passion for serving people.
“We enjoy what we do,” he said. “All the servers have been with us for all 10 years and they enjoy what they do, they enjoy serving and talking to people. We’re lucky to have them.”
As Torres and his staff point their vision to the future, one thing they aim to do is maintain the consistency that has brought them this far.
“It’s about maintaining,” Torres said. “That’s what I say to employees all the time– it’s actually all about maintaining the good service. It’s like a good diet – you have to maintain it to reach your goals and get to where you want to be. We’re going to keep doing what we’re doing – having fun while loving what we do.”
The Clovis restaurant/bar, which offers breakfast, lunch and dinner, is open Sunday-Thursday from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. and on Fridays and Saturdays from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Steve English serving his community, acquiring new skills while working at Yosemite Falls Café
The Clovis restaurant and bar also employs Steve English, a 21-year-old with Down syndrome.
When English first started working at Yosemite Falls Café two years ago, he was a little reserved but working with and interacting with people on a consistent basis allowed him to overcome his shyness.
“He’s doing really well with it,” said Vonnie English, Steve’s mother. “He’s excited every day to come to work. He gets dressed and has his clothes all laid out and he makes sure he’s ready to go. He knows what he’s supposed to do. He has his routine when he comes in. He takes directions really well. Now he’s pretty independent as a busser. He really likes it here and we’re 100 percent supportive. Whatever he wants to do, we support him.”
During his time at Yosemite Falls Cafe, English has picked up customer service skills and made connections with people from his own community.
“[The feedback from the community] has been great,” she said. “He’s received tips, customers say ‘hello,’ they all remember his name and to me that’s a huge compliment.”
Outside of work, English enjoys spending time with his family, attending sporting events, particularly WWE events and Fresno Grizzlies’ baseball games, and playing and coaching baseball.
English, a Clovis High graduate, is currently enrolled in the LINKS program through Clovis Adult School and is on pace to graduate next spring.
Following his graduation from the LINKS program, he will look to enroll in the Wayfinders Program at Fresno State, which teaches independent living skills for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities.