Teen owner got the rhythm | TheUnion.com

Teen owner got the rhythm

Mixing mochas behind the coffee bar at Rhythms Music Cafe on West Main Street in downtown Grass Valley, anyone would assume that 17-year-old Steven Melendez is your average high school student, working a part-time job.

Melendez, however, is a co-owner of the quaint cafe.

“I’ve always been interested in the music and entertainment industry for a while so this was a good place to start,” Melendez said as he greeted new customers.

Melendez and his mother, Carol Melendez, purchased the cafe on April 26.

“It’s fun,” the young entrepreneur said. “It’s a lot of work. I’m here every day, all day.”

Changing the name of the cafe from The Beat – formerly The Wall Street Cafe – to Rhythms Music Cafe was inspired by Steven Melendez’s love of entertainment and his desire to undertake a business venture.

“I actually have a record company named Rhythms,” the teen said. “We also wanted a new feel and new way about the cafe.”

In addition to a name change, the Melendezes have also chosen to revamp and reinvent the menu.

“There’s more foods now,” Steven Melendez said. “We serve burgers, onion rings. We have a grill now.”

Barbecue sandwiches (chicken or pork), meatball sandwiches, paninis, hot dogs, corn dogs, jalapeño poppers, mozzarella sticks and taquitos are just some of the many interesting additions to the cafe’s menu. The cafe also features organic coffee from Sierra Mountain coffee.

Variety and unique options can also been seen in Rhythms Music Cafe’s musical entertainment, from open mikes to salsa dancing nights.

“No matter what, we have live music on Saturday,” Steven Melendez said.

Along with aspiring local artists, the 2007 Forest Charter graduate features five bands from his own record label.

“They’ve had salsa lessons here for a while,” Carol Melendez added. “But there was no place to dance on the weekends, so now I’ve opened it up for Friday night salsa dancing. It’s been pretty successful.”

With help from his parents, Steven Melendez has created a cafe with a careful balance between entertainment and nourishment.

“I’m able to handle the entertainment aspect of it,” he said. “My parents help run the business.”

In a week, the Melendezes have managed to book events at their family run cafe for all but two out of the seven days.

“We’re open consistent hours,” Carol Melendez said. “People know if they come downtown we will be open.”

“It’s a nonalcoholic environment, with family oriented events,” Carol Melendez said, looking on as her son helped customers. “We have something for everybody.”


To contact Staff Writer Lindsey Croft, e-mail lindseyc@theunion.com or call 477-4247.

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