Mishka’s Café in downtown Davis will be moving down the street by mid-February, despite opposition from some community members.
Since the development agreement was signed five and a half years ago with the city, owner Sinisa Novakovic has been going through a process of approvals and plans.
Originally founded in 1995, the café will move from its current 2nd Street location between D and E Street to one block over between E and F Street. The new Mishka’s will occupy the first floor of a new two-story building next to the Varsity Theatre. The second story will be used as office space.
Novakovic said the new café will have about a 25 percent capacity increase, with 15 to 20 more seats. Other changes include expanding its collection of tea to about 175 different types.
“One of the biggest problems with the current location is that the café is full to the point that a lot of people cannot find seats,” Novakovic said. “The move is going to be wild and crazy. We’re hoping to close one night and be open the next morning at the new location.”
Novakovic said that he expects the new location to be pretty busy when the café opens, so he may do some more hiring. He said that there is currently an inch stack of resumes for the café to go through before considering other applicants.
The lot where the new Mishka’s will be located was the site of the Tank House since 1979. The Tank House was built in the late 1800s to supply water for the adjacent Dresbach-Hunt-Boyer Mansion and its grounds. The Tank House was used as commercial space from 1979 until 1998, when it was condemned for being structurally unsound. It has not been used since.
The original proposal was to demolish the Tank House, but instead it was moved south, to the western side of the mansion. This did not sit well with some Davis residents.
City Councilmember Steve Souza was opposed to the relocation of the Tank House, but does like the Novakovics’ design for the new café.
“There were better proposals for what to do with the building,” Souza said. “There was a wonderful open air looking design that could have utilized the Tank House. The new design looks great and we’re happy we retained the land underneath the building because it is the people’s land and we will continue to own the land.”
Souza said the only problem he sees now is the Tank House’s proximity to the Hunter-Boyer Mansion.
“One of the problems I saw was it’s really close to the mansion,” Souza said. “It’s a waste of some of the historical features of the mansion; it blocks it. It would be more appropriate if the house was to the back of the property.”
UC Santa Cruz student and Davis native Luke Slotton said he comes into the café three times a week when he is in town.
“At first I was ambivalent,” Slotton said. “My only qualm was that the move would be imposing on one of the historic parts of Davis. It is one of the old, awesome spots and it was hard to see it being uprooted. I do think it’s for a good cause, though.”
Rainbow Vogt, member of the city’s tree commission and resident of Davis, had other objections to the Tank House’s move. Vogt supported preserving orange trees next to location of the new Mishka’s and said she feels it is unfortunate that trees were removed.
“The trees were already moved once before,” Vogt said. “They’re uprooting a symbol of all of the orchards. The new buildings wouldn’t require removal, but all were removed. Part of whole issue is that a landmark tree doesn’t mean much. [It is] so unfortunate and unnecessary to have lost the trees.”
ANGELA SWARTZ can be reached email@example.com.