Story by Anayah Mehdi
Photos by Sarah Lee
New bookshop cafe and cooking school Waverly made its debut on Fair Oaks Ave. this past July. Waverly boasts an extensive coffee and dessert menu, book selection, and calm ambience for homework or studying, mainly advertised to students from the middle and high school.
Upon arrival, the smell of freshly-roasted coffee grounds meets the nose. The decorations, the satisfying array of the books, and the relaxing, yet rich shade of green present throughout the cafe adds to the serene and peaceful energy radiated in the room.
South Pasadena resident Sandy Olivas opened Waverly, filling the vacancy left by previous business Cookies and Cream. When choosing the location for Waverly, Olivas took its proximity to both the middle and high schools into careful consideration.
“I want to have a cool place where anyone can just come in, walk from school, and do homework or hangout,” Olivas said. “Any afterschool purchases for SPHS students will also get a 10 percent discount.”
In addition to coffee and books, Waverly also offers catering and cooking courses to its customers. Waverly’s opening allowed Olivas to combine her passion for food and cooking with her family’s love for books into a multipurpose cafe. Olivas’ daughter also served as inspiration for the business.
“My background is in culinary, so I wanted to have that aspect in there,” Olivas said. “My daughter and I love to read books and she thought there weren’t enough places where you [could] go in and grab a book. Now, you have to order them through Amazon and get it online. You also don’t see a bookshop cafe very much. So we were like, ‘Okay let’s open a bookshop cafe!’”
Making a positive impact on the community is one of Waverly’s primary goals. With every cooking class taken, ten meals are donated to Feeding America.
“We are very charity-based,” Olivas said. “Our coffee roaster is ‘Generous Coffee’ and 100 percent of their profits are donated. Every month we donate to charity.”
Olivas described Waverly’s opening and business so far as a success. She added that customers have been encouraging and supportive of her mission to bridge her love for books with food and community.