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Yadda Yadda Java stresses relaxation

A little Land O'Lakes coffee shop, bookstore and gift shop doesn't try to draw the masses or act like a chain. "Cozy'' is the key word.

By MIKE CAMUNAS
Published August 28, 2006


LAND O'LAKES - Tucked away in Pasco County suburbia, Yadda Yadda Java is a coffee shop that's laid-back at heart.

During its busy lunch hour and throughout the day, regulars relax on couches, munch on sandwiches and sip organic coffee over one of the shop's books or magazines.

Owner Sharon Molnar, 62, said Yadda Yadda - the name comes from a famous Seinfeld episode - was a dream that she can't believe brewed into reality.

Originally, she wasn't even going to serve coffee.

"All this just happened by default. It was just going to be a used-book store," said Molnar, whose shop celebrated its anniversary Aug. 1.

"Then we decided to serve coffee. Then we wanted to give dessert to go with the coffee. Then, we figured if we were going to give that, why not give full lunch?"

Molnar, who co-owns the store with longtime friend Deb Graziani, wanted to create a store that stood out from modern chain coffee shops. As the bookstore idea progressed into a coffee shop, Molnar knew there had to be more than coffee.

Settled inside the small shop are shelves of books, a few couches, several tables and a small bar. Customers can buy products including Crocs (rubber slip-on shoes) and greeting cards and order food including pastries and soups.

Yadda Yadda Java offers free wireless Internet and books, in hardback and on tape. The coffee is Fair Trade Organic Coffee by Pura Vida, which donates its net profits to the children of farmers in the countries where the beans are harvested.

Nestled in a tiny strip mall, Yadda Yadda Java finds itself off the main drag of U.S. 41. The corner of Lake Padgett Drive and Bell Lake Road wasn't exactly what Molnar was looking for.

"We had a place right on 41 we thought would be perfect," said Molnar, who has lived in Land O'Lakes since 1972. "But someone else got it from us. We found this (plaza). It was reasonable, and we figured that after a year, if it wasn't a go, we could always leave. But as you can see, we're doing just fine."

Other businesses in the suburban strip center include a nail salon, a hair salon, a call center and a real estate office. The two salons sometimes find their customers waiting for appointments in Yadda Yadda Java, and call center employees frequent the shop as well.

"We swap some customers," said Lori Mathis, 35, owner of Professionals nail salon. "We see people come in here with cups of coffee before they get their nails done, so they've been busy."

Angelo Reno, 76, a regular customer, said he enjoys the relaxed atmosphere.

"This place is more cozy," said Reno, who has hosted karaoke parties at the shop. "You got to know where this place is, then you're familiar with it. That's why I come back."

Elaine White, who just moved from Illinois to Land O'Lakes, agreed.

"I think the place is great. There's no rush here. I've only been twice since my daughter brought me, but it's nice how it's tucked away, so you can relax."

Molnar said the intimate atmosphere was her goal.

"We encourage people to stay and read a book, talk to us, whatever," Molnar said.

"That's what we do around here."