The DOJO Cafe
4350 El Cajon Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92105
If you like good coffee and inspiring stories, read on. The DOJO Coffee Culture Community grew out of an empty lot on El Cajon Blvd. at 44th St. to address the lack of safe, culturally reflective, and productive spaces in City Heights. An empty lot was a blank slate for locals to congregate, network, and develop or show case their talents.
It’s a community gathering place with good coffee, too, similar to The Quartyard in East Village. An onsite trailer provides some great brews with coffee beans from local Dark Horse Coffee Roasters.
Traditional coffee and tea drinks are available, but so are Horchata lattes, Jamaica, Viet Cold Brew, and their own creation: Dojo Spice, a delicious mix of espresso, almond milk, cinnamon, and allspice. Loved it! They also offer pastries & snacks.
The DOJO sponsors free inspiring workshops, like Reach Your Goals and Business Strategies for Artists. They also have free dance lessons at least twice a month. Salsa, cambia, bachata, anyone? The Hoover High Jazz Band practices here, which sounds like a free concert to me. And Mommy & Me classes are in the works. For more free events check out their Facebook page.
Why the name The DOJO? Because the term DOJO is a Japanese term which literally means “place of the way,” and here in the States it generally refers to a martial arts training place, but they say The DOJO Cafe will serve as a safe training place for aspiring residents in underserved communities to discover their way. From the staff members we met I’d say it’s working.
Parking can be tight. We found street parking on Fairmont or 44th St., north of El Cajon Blvd. If this location sounds vaguely familiar, it’s perhaps because you remember the jingle about a certain Ford dealership at “Fairmont and El Cajon”. The DOJO is in their space, next to the Copley-Price YMCA. Come by for a game of bucket pong, but check it out soon as apartments are slated for the lot in the next few years.
Open Mon.-Sat., 7:00am-6:00pm. Closed Sundays.