3:16 Café

BUSINESS OWNER and entrepreneur Javier Valenzuela compacts coffee grinds before blending a classic latte at 3:16 Café coffeehouse in downtown Imperial.

IMPERIAL — Entrepreneurs Javier Valenzuela and Edgar Salcido brewed the idea of a coffee house right in the heart of Imperial two years ago. Eight months later, 3:16 Café opened its doors for business. 

The businessmen’s friendship is blended from a marriage between Salcido’s sister and Valenzuela. The brothers-in-law both have vocational backgrounds in the food industry; Valenzuela is a career chef, and Salcido works at a meat store. 

According to Valenzuela, the name 3:16 Café refers to Bible verse John 3:16. He quoted from memory, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, so that whoever believes [in him shall not perish but] … may have eternal life.” 

The brand name becomes a conversation piece in itself and creates opportunity to talk about the Bible and the Christian faith, according to Valenzuela. However, the café is open to serve all customers. 

The brothers-in-law said that they know their customers’ favorite coffee drinks. The coffee house has a facade glass wall which allows a view of customers arriving or parking their cars. Often, the baristas would start making the coffee once the customer stepped through the door. 

A menu poster hangs on one side of the wall and displays a selection of hot drinks, frappes and house craft selections. 

At the top of the poster menu are the words, Seed to Cup, a reference to a claim by Valenzuela that “We are the only coffee shop that roasts its own coffee beans.”

According to Salcido, 3:16 Café offers over two dozen coffee drinks — a combination of hot and cold drinks. The café also offers brunch with a selection of sandwiches, toast, salads, and quesadillas. 

“One thing, our food menu is made to complement our drinks,” Salcido said. “We have something for the whole family — from children to grandparents.” 

The cold, iced coffee drinks are popular in the summer, according to Salcido. He mentioned ice-flavored latte, which is a blend of milk, espresso, and flavoring of choices such as mocha or caramel. 

Customers usually start with frappes, and later gradually move to stronger coffee drinks blended with milk. 

“We are growing the coffee culture in the Valley,” said Salcido.

For those unable to visit the coffee shop in Imperial, 3:16 Café offers delivery services to Imperial and El Centro. Deliveries are from 8 a.m. until noon on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. 

3:16 Café is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. The café is closed on Sundays. 

The brothers-in-law and businessmen have defined roles. Valenzuela is the chief executive officer, and Salcido, chief financial officer. 

As CEO, Valenzuela is in charge of the entire operation of the corporation. As such, he adheres to the administrative and financial side of the business. Salcido’s role is customer service, marketing, and sales. 

Salcido said people get to know their coffee shop mainly through word of mouth. However, they have social media presences on Facebook and Instagram with followers reaching up to a conservative number of 1,500, of whom 90% are locals. For more information call 760-355-9751.

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