Downtown San Mateo has lost two beloved shops recently, and it seems like their closings have come right out of the blue. Café Sweet Orchid as well as taiyaki shop Sweet Breams closed this month, leaving downtown regulars with nostalgic cravings and memories. With the number of cozy hangout spots decreasing, local students are wondering what else may close in the future.
Sweet Orchid was a small geletaria, café, and patisserie known for its unique gelatos and decadent pastries. The modern design and bright colors made customers feel like they were stepping out of downtown San Mateo and into a European café—making it a very popular after-school hangout spot and weekend treat stop. While its presence certainly brightened downtown San Mateo, loyal fans can still visit the Freemont location if they are craving the hard-to-beat gelato and pastries.
“I liked working there because helping the customers always made me happy and seeing their smiles and raised eyebrows made it worth all the work! Now I miss working there…” said senior Sally Lok, former employee of Sweet Orchid.
Sweet Breams, known for their taiyaki (a Japanese cake that is shaped like a fish, typically filled with red bean paste), was another popular spot for locals. Aside from their delicious cakes, the shop had a gallery for local artists, a mini boutique, and an ever-changing supply of interesting toys and items for purchase. As their final day neared, they left a little note on their blog (sweatbreams.com/blog) for concerned customers: “We have made the extremely difficult and bittersweet decision to retire from the taiyaki business. The time has come for us to seek new adventures.”
“Instantly, I fell in love with its decor, taiyaki, and vibe. It was a place for networking and showcasing amazing artwork from artists around the area and I loved that. It was a shock to hear them close so unexpectedly, they had a great following and an even greater service. On their blog they said they’re going to go pursue bigger, better projects so all I can do is hope for the best and cherish the quirky nook they provided for downtown San Mateo,” said senior Vi Bautista, a regular at Sweet Breams.
As sad as the news is, both shops left hope for customers that wanted more of what they had to offer. People willing to travel to Freemont can still visit Sweet Orchid, and people willing to wait for Sweet Bream’s newest adventure can visit their blog. Until then, downtown regulars have to hope that the two shops replacing Sweet Breams and Sweet Orchid will be just as good.