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New Looney Bean owners bring fresh twist to old favorites

August 9, 2013

The Looney Bean’s new owners, Corrie and Dustin (center), here with their children, (l-r) Psalm, Haven, Teb and Thos, are maintaining the coffee house as a community gathering place keeping tried-and-true favorites on the menu while throwing new flavors, new munchies, new art and new events into the mix. Photo by Marilyn Blake Philip

Despite new drinks, new nibbles and new plans afoot, the Looney Bean in Bishop will still be the same old comfortable community gathering spot its patrons know and love, say the shop’s new owners.
Wife-and-husband-team Corrie and Dustin del Giudice are bringing a fresh menu, event ideas and their own unique brewing and management skills to the Looney Bean coffee house scene, located at 399A N. Main St.
Corrie’s specialty is customer service and Dustin’s is marketing. “I see the value of marketing something you are passionate about, getting someone to try something new,” Dustin said.
The del Giudices took ownership of the coffee shop on July 19 with the goal of combining popular menu items with customizable new additions. “We are keeping all the local house favorites, the reason people love Looney Bean,” but, Dustin added, “we can also tweak people’s order to suit their palette.”
The couple plans to nurture the Looney Bean environment known for its local, family feel and being a “great hangout for conversation,” Corrie said. Customers engage in really diverse activities while sipping, Dustin added – they knit, draw, read, game, study, work and hold meetings.
The del Giudices’ main focus, however, is on preparing the perfect espresso drinks.
Employees must train to become proper baristas, Corrie explained, “to know the espresso machine and the pour. They have to get the milk to just the right temperature to get an excellent latté or cappuccino.” That way, Dustin said, the natural sweetness in the milk comes out and one needs add nothing more.
Customers will soon be seeing the Looney Ladies Specials board, listing creations concocted by the baristas – “their own signature specials,” Corrie said. By the way, barista Jessie Leonard “excels at latte art.”
Corrie learned the art of espresso years ago while working in the Mammoth Lakes shop with Looney Bean founder Brent Kennedy. Kennedy is the one who encouraged the couple to buy the Bishop shop. “‘You’d be the perfect fit,’” Corrie said. “He has been a huge mentor.’”
The del Giudices even use beans roasted in Kennedy’s Bend, Ore. facility, both regular and decaf. Kennedy uses a decaf espresso pour-over process that is similar to the Swiss water-process method, for a smoother flavor, Corrie said.
In terms of nourishment, the Bean now offers grab-n-go healthy lunch wraps, salads and sandwiches. Baked goods, like mixed berry and whole wheat currant scones and blueberry oat bran muffins, are prepared fresh daily on site by Corrie, Lexi Weaver and the del Giudices’ oldest child, Psalm, 13, whose specialty is the Sunrise muffin, full of ingredients like coconut, oats, carrots and pineapple. “And people come in every day just for our ham and cheese croissant and spinach and cheese croissant,” Corrie said.
Looney Bean has something for every palette, according to the del Giudice family. Corrie loves a medium-blend black coffee, Ethiopian. Dustin goes for the “straight espresso pour; pulled just right, it’s amazing.” The couple’s four children have their decaf favorites, too. Psalm likes Carmelicious, hot and frappé. Son Thos, 10, is a Vanilla Bean Strawberry frappé man. It’s the Mixed Berry Smoothie for daughter Haven, 9, while son Teb, 7, is still in the building with the Velvet Elvis frappé.
Aside from the menu, the coffee house walls have also been updated with artwork by Dave McCoy, David R. McCoy and Jose Jimenez. “We want to help promote more local artists,” Corrie said. An open mic night is in the works. Artists or musicians can contact Corrie and Dustin at (760) 873-3311 or looneybeanbishop@gmail.com.
Looney Bean is open Monday through Thursday from 6 a.m.-6 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays, 6 a.m.-7 p.m.; and Sundays, 7 a.m. – 6 p.m. “Follow us on Instagram at looneybeanbishop@gmail.com, like us on Facebook,” Dustin said, and stay posted for a grand opening, tentatively set for the end of August.

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