Just two months after Meant to Be Café opened on the corner of Broadway and Bonito, the tiny shop was met with disaster after disaster: vandalism, broken windows, flooding. There was no choice but to close the doors, with the promise of reopening soon. But after weeks, then months rolled by, neighborhood residents began to wonder if Meant to Be was really, well, meant to be.
But owners Josh and Pamela Batovsky were determined to not let their little café fold so easily. Plus, their first venture into the restaurant business is attached to their ethically sourced clothing-and-accessories boutique, Glow Getter.
Prior to Meant to Be, the address belonged for nearly two decades to the beloved Vintage Tea Leaf, a quaint tea-party restaurant. The Batovskys have kept that charming, homespun vibe. “We just love to cook and have always believed in home-cooked meals from scratch,” Pamela says. “It’s about spending time together over a meal and breaking bread together.”
When Meant to Be Café finally held its grand reopening late last month, the neighborhood showed up in support.
The boho-sweetness of the boutique spilled over into the café to create a darling aesthetic, from the robin’s-egg blue color scheme to the cheery signs and illustrations, from the cozy window nook to the perfectly placed throw pillows and candles.
Open early every day (6:30 a.m. during the week, 8 a.m. on weekends), Meant to Be serves breakfast comfort foods, baked goods courtesy of Los Alamitos’ Katella Bakery, and artisan coffee and tea drinks. Come later in the day for sandwiches and salads—or even later on Friday nights for an open mic.
The waffles are freshly made and huge—as large as the plates they’re served on! You get two pillowy soft and airy waffles per serving, sweetened only by whichever sugary toppings you choose: caramel banana, strawberry chocolate or traditional Belgian.
Order a plain ol’ cup of drip and pick from house-made creamers in flavors such as cookie butter, hazelnut and crème brûlée. “Coffee is extra-important to us,” says Pamela. “And after recently losing my grandma, who loved coffee and ‘visiting,’ as she would say, we had to find the best. We wanted to provide that comfort I felt over a cup of coffee with my grammy. I always left feeling loved and well.”
You can go fancy and try the rose latte, a cup of hibiscus tea with rose water, coconut milk and honey. Or reset your system with the turmeric latte, which combines the spice with tea, almond, honey and cinnamon. There’s also an organic lemonade sweetened with cotton candy.
One of the Batovskys’ house specialties is called White Boy Tacos: two flash-fried flour tortillas heaped with seasoned, grass-fed ground beef, lettuce, tomatoes and a slice of avocado. “They’re something we always made for our family,” Josh says. “They loved them, but they’d always say it was like a white boy made them.”
The dish comes with a mound of perfectly fried tots that are dusted in a savory seasoned salt.
Meant to Be’s menu seems designed around warm family memories, and thanks to help from chef Joseph Sanchez, the rest of Long Beach can enjoy the Batovskys’ homegrown traditions. “We have a good mix of items, all with influence from those important to us,” Pamela explains.
Through floods and other disasters, Meant to Be’s team remains resolute. “We’ve already been through so many bad things that can happen, all within our first year,” Josh says. “It’s going to be all good from here on out.”
Meant to Be Café, 969 E. Broadway, Long Beach, (562) 481-0876.