New Highland Park coffee house pops up in an unexpected spot

Workers prepping the new Tierra Mia for opening day

Workers prepping the new Tierra Mia for opening day

Storefront ReportHIGHLAND PARK —   While new shops and restaurants have flocked to York Boulevard and Figueroa Street, Monte Vista Street has remained a sleepy side street of homes, churches and a few shops.  But the opening today of Tierra Mia, a Latino-themed coffee house,  might signal the arrival of other newcomers to the narrow street.

The new coffee house on Monte Vista near Avenue 56 is the 10th in the Tierra Mia chain founded by Ulysses Romero, a Highland Park resident who lives near the new coffee shop, where items will include  micro-lot coffees, Horchata-flavored lattes and Tres Leches muffins.

Romero said he had been looking to expand into Highland Park for a while now when a  juice and ice cream shop in the middle of the block came up for sale. Unlike Tierra Mia’s other locations on major, busy streets,  Romero said the Monte Vista store will cater to a neighborhood crowd.

“It’s within the neighborhood,” Romero said on Sunday as he prepared for the store’s opening. “I thought it would be nice to do some thing different. “It’s sort of a neighborhood spot that people can walk to from their homes.”

Will others follow Tierra Mia to Monte Vista? Stay tuned.



  1. I’m looking forward to checking this out. +1 for local ownership, +1 for revitalizing Monte Vista.

  2. Not trying to be snarky, but calling Monte Vista ‘sleepy’ is not really accurate, unless one can sleep through gunshots. That said, there are a lot of charming storefronts so I’m glad we have a new coffee house! The picture looks charming. I wish the city would repave Monte Vista.

  3. Nice, but Oasis Ice cream and juices will be missed!

    • I loved Oasis Ice cream and Juices!!! The beet and vegetable ice creams were fantastic. Does anyone know if they are moving elsewhere?

      • I heard that the woman who was running it most recently (not Doris, but I don’t recall her name) had to sell the business because she had some familial obligations in Mexico, and she was having to go back and forth a lot. That place was fantastic, though!

  4. This is fantastic. This neighborhood needed a good coffeeshop.

  5. Very happy independently owned businesses are giving it a go on Monte Vista. It has the potential to be such a great home spun pocket for the neighborhood.

  6. But is it “culturally welcoming”?

    • I understand the coffee part, but what does “tierra mia” mean? bi lingual signs would be more sensitive and welcoming to the community.

      • Why don’t you look it up?

        • Wait, is this sarcasm? I honestly don’t really understand your comment. Do you say this when a business has a French or Italian name?

          • My Italian is pretty good, so I don’t need to look that up. Yes, it’s sarcasm. Hablo un poco español, but I still can figure out what Tierra Mia means….. which is reconquista: not culturally welcoming! How about Nuestra Tierra Coffee? Then everyone’s included.

          • He’s making a joke, dude. Playing off the uber-pc environment which constantly demands that we make things bilingual for latinos. Here, he’s sarcastically noting that they don’t do the same for the English-speaking majority.

          • english speaking majority? what part of town do you live in?

          • ESFarts is a parody of your “ugly gringo-American”. If only his paranoia, xenophobia, and general insecurity weren’t so real . . I Love It. Nothing like stoking the irrational fear of “reconquista” in an ugly-American’s cowering mind . . . and we just keep coming . . . (lol).

  7. Monte Vista a “sleepy” street? Do eastsider writers know anything about this neighborhood? This street is far from Mayberry.

  8. Excellent! Tierra Mia is great coffee.

  9. Wooohoooo! I love their hot chocolates! Very happy to see this!!!

  10. I am so glad they decided to open a Tierra Mia here in Highland Park! This is actually a perfect location; close to residential, near schools and close to the gold line. It’s a bit small but quaint; at the end of the day this is a store that prides itself on its branding.; Tierra Mia means My land. For those of us who are Hispanic, Latino, etc. it hits home. For those who do not understand the significance, come in for a cup of coffee and ask the employees about it. A saying they have on their coffee sleeves is “El mejor cafe viene de tierra mia”, which translates to ” The best coffee come from my land.” Tierra mia caters to those of us who enjoy the Latin inspred flavors that we grew up with. From the refreshing horchata drinks to the taste of “Abuelita’s” (a type of chocolate bar that can be found at the supermarket) it is all delicious. The name brings out the curiosity in us humans; it is not that they are being insensitive, they are just trying to draw people in. Just come on in and try something, I promise you won’t be let down.

  11. “Latino-themed coffee house??” Latinos don’t drink coffee!

    • Ironically, it’s the anti-gentrification crowd that is guilty of infantilizing and patronizing latinos…”they are just simple poor people. they don’t understand or have any desire for fancy white people things like coffee and it is rude to open coffee shops that they don’t understand”.

  12. Tried their mocha mexicano today…it was bomb!! the store is modern, clean, plenty of parking. i’ll be back!

  13. A great addition to the neighborhood. And they said they want to stay open later. There was a line out the door when I was there around 6pm. And it wasn’t bearded hipsters.

      • Racism 101
        “bearded hipsters”=white people

      • “bearded hipsters” = outsiders. newcomers. posers. etc. It seems that you two will never move beyond your chronic lack of hip and square midwestern prejudices and insecurities.

        • I wonder how it is you’re able to tell who a “newcomer” is. What is your process?

          • Beside the silly and incoherent tattoos, you rarely if ever see them at the tire shops, mechanic shops, corner stores/carnecerias, barber shops, Smart n’ Final, actual taco trucks (except outside the Vons on Alvarado/Montana which SUX), or even at Ricks in EV or Gold Star, which make the best burgers even though it is technically in Glendale.

            The difference between the clientele (and prices!) at Astros or the Oinksters and those joints is instructional if you’re truly interested in learning how to make distinctions between demographics. Or you can simply ask. If anything, they’re proud and giddy about transplanting to our neighborhoods and don’t hesitate to share.

          • Martin Arredondo

            But the newcomers children are native to NELA. That must drive Proper Dos crazy.(lol)

          • Hmmm. Well, I’ve never been to any of the tire shops or mechanic places in Highland Park. I suppose I hit up the corner stores if I need a couple onions or a pack of smokes right quick, but hardly ever. I do go to Smart and Final plenty. The burgers at Rick’s and Gold Star are in my opinion pretty mediocre and I can’t really tell the difference between theirs and Troy’s or Lucky Boy’s or Lucy’s or any of the other hundreds of burger places in LA that seem to get their patties and buns from the exact same place. I agree that Astros sucks (but has been around for as long as I can remember) but Oinkster is several measures better than Gold Star, come on man. I also think the Pastor at Estrella sucks (what is it, braised or something? I won’t even call it Pastor because it simply isn’t) and my favorite tacos are in Hollywood and Pico Union.
            The thing is though that even though we disagree on a few matters of local taste, I’m just as from here as you are. I’m born and raised in Echo Park. 4th generation in LA in fact.

            I’m not trying to sound like a dick here, but you sound exactly like my 75 year old aunt in Glendale complaining about the Armenians. Sure, it pissed me off when it dawned on me that I couldn’t afford a house in Echo Park, but what are you gonna do? What I did was find a house in Highland Park that I could afford. I know my story isn’t unique. Two of my neighbors on my street are in the exact same boat: Born and raised in LA and Highland Park was what they could afford. Just because people disagree with you on matters of taste does not make them “outsiders”.

        • Martin Arredondo

          Talk about posers. You claim to be so NELA but you use the name Proper Dos. A lame hip hop band that came out of SANTA MONICA. Hahahaha…………….

  14. I’m white and I LOVE Tierra Mia. I seriously crave their Mexican hot chocolate and they always have great service.
    I don’t think it matters if you are Mexican, white, Chinese, who cares? I like that there’s a cafe I can walk to in my neighborhood and they clearly take pride in their presentation. Really happy to welcome Tierra Mia to Highland Park.

    • Good for you. You get it. There has never been problems between races or ethnicities in NELA no matter how much newcomers insist on imagining it. We can share and enjoy together. Tierra Mia is proof of that.

      Buen Provecho! Translation: We will kill your men, eat your children, reconquer our land, and impregnate your women! . . . “Aaaarrrrgggghhh!”

      • “There has never been problems between races or ethnicities in NELA no matter how much newcomers insist on imagining it. ”

        @proper douche


        Really? Try telling that to the families of the victims the Aves
        murdered for being black.

        They were non gang member victims, jerk.
        Where were the protests then?

        Of course, you’re going to find some way to justify those killings just as you tried to justify the burning down of Korean businesses in ’92.

        You are truly delusional. As a self proclaimed son of immigrants, it’s amazing to see how xenophobic you are. Once a naco, always a naco.

        Welcome to the new store. I hope to see them do well.

        • There is no justification for you lumping in 99% of the community with the gang members imposing their prison politics in our barrios. In fact, it’s justifiable fear and rejection of those politics that prevent it from emerging beyond gang circles. The new park and Tierra Mia are much more reflective of the culture and character of long-time NELA residents. Conversely, your ignorant hate-mongering exposes you as a member of that relatively new NELA demographic: the chronic UNhipster.

          Btw, it was gang members that prevented rioting in NELA in ’92. Literally posting themselves in front of mom-and-pop stores and declaring that rioting would not be allowed on their turf but what would you know about it? You connect the dots in what ever way bolsters your prejudice and insecurity.. Truly pathetic.

          • Homegirl Cafe is another example of how people can and do get along in L.A. away from the hate-mongering elements who only imagine the worst based on THEIR history, which is not ours. The “worst of the worst” working together, demonstrating progress, and moving forward. The images of hispanic men and women being dragged out of vehicles and beaten on Florence and Normandie did result in serious antagonism between blacks and hispanics but the lingering effects only persists among distinctly cirminal elements. Otherwise, I travel, shop, and work in every side of L.A. without fear or anxiety. How many UNhipsters can claim the same? Even in a distinctly tranquil place like NELA?

            I repeat. asians, hispanics, and whites have co-existed in NELA for decades and without any forced sense of “diversity”. It just is and that’s what it means to fit in in NELA.

          • Way to crap on another discussion and make it all about yourself, Poopy Retardos

          • I get that you like to shift goalposts Proper Dos, but, seriously, eveytime you say “get used to us”, it is in reference to some gang activity that people are decrying. So, it seems a bit counter to you own oft-stated politics to say “There is no justification for you lumping in 99% of the community with the gang members imposing their prison politics in our barrios. In fact, it’s justifiable fear and rejection of those politics that prevent it from emerging beyond gang circles”. You are always the one lumping 99% of the community in with the gang members and their prison politics.

          • First of all, I live in Highland Park and own a house here. You don’t.
            So sit down and shut up, son.

            Secondly, just say white people instead of hipster. Saying hipster reveals you to be a coward.

            I didn’t lump in 99% of the community into anything. You did. I pointed out that you consistently make statements that have as much place in reality as the Easter Bunny.

            Stop trying to justify and stick up for gang members.
            You mean how they placed themselves between the rioters and the stores they extort?

            I guess they were making good on that “protection” money they extort every month. Losers. They are scumbag f-ups that choose that way of life. Your fellow beloved gang bangers are the same morons that shot up the firetrucks in ’92.

            And the fact that you claim to be a former gangster really doesn’t lend you any credibility, it just lets us know that you’re a low life.

            bye, troll. enjoy your sad life.

  15. I have been going to Tierra Mia in HP and dtla for a while and when the Starbucks opened on York I wished for a Tierra Mia. WISHES do come true! Gotta go get my chocolate mexicano!!

  16. More “gentefication” . . . Pleeease!

  17. All this talk of coffee is making my bowels go nuts. Now if you’ll excuse me I need to find a restroom ASAP so I can take a Proper Dos.

    • Hahahahaha!! Poopy Retardos has never actually been on Monte Vista. He’s only seen it on his favorite movies: American Me, Colors and Blood In Blood Out.

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