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Someone Smashed the Front Window of Divisive Boyle Heights Coffee Shop Again

Weird Wave Coffee is vandalized once again, this time during dinner service

Weird Wave
Weird Wave Coffee
Weird Wave
Farley Elliott is the Senior Editor at Eater LA and the author of Los Angeles Street Food: A History From Tamaleros to Taco Trucks. He covers restaurants in every form, from breaking news to the culture, people, and history that surrounds LA's dining landscape.

Weird Wave Coffee’s ongoing Boyle Heights saga continues, with news over the weekend that the divisive coffee and pizza shop had its front window smashed in during evening service.

According to multiple reports, Weird Wave’s large front window was left in pieces after an unknown assailant threw what appeared to be a glass bottle of kombucha through it at around 10 p.m. on Friday night. The coffee shop also operates as a dinnertime pizza restaurant and was actually open at the time, though in a post to social media ownership has said that no one was hurt.

While no one has specifically claimed credit for the action, a number of popular anti-gentrification outlets have taken to social media to cheer it on. That includes Defend Boyle Heights, a group that has long advocated for the removal of Weird Wave Coffee and various other businesses that they believe are leading to increased rents and development speculation within the community. The group most recently had a hand in protests that erupted outside of the kosher Asher Caffe after the owner there was found to be pushing a pro-Trump, anti-immigration agenda on social media.

Weird Wave is a flash point in the Boyle Heights gentrification struggle due to concerns about displacement and expensive development in the surrounding area, and the cafe’s own particularly rocky start in the community.

In 2017, owners Jackson Defa, John Schwarz, and Mario Chavarria used the terms “shady” to describe the shop’s immediate neighborhood and alleyway, and called one nearby street cart fruit vendor a “local yokel” on social media. They were chastised on social media for the comments. Chavarria called the terms “rookie mistakes.”

Others, including Los Angeles City Councilman Jose Huizar, have stood by Weird Wave as a positive force in the community saying the shop offers jobs and an open door to anyone interested in coffee in Boyle Heights.

Last year the LA Times spoke to locals who described the vandalism as an “inappropriate” response to concerns about gentrification. Weird Wave co-owner Chavarria sent Eater a public statement regarding the blowback that spoke of wanting to be a more inclusive member of the neighborhood, saying:

“We recognize the role a coffee shop plays in a community, both as an advocate for that community but also as a vendor who’s role in the local economy is impactful.”

This is at least the second time in just over a year that Weird Wave has had its glass shattered. Last summer someone smashed in the coffee shop’s front door in the pre-dawn hours, but ownership says they’ll continue to serve the parts of the greater Boyle Heights community that supports them, saying: “We are stronger together than we will ever be divided.”

Update: September 6, 2018, 9:00 a.m.: This article was updated to include more backstory on Weird Wave Coffee’s history in Boyle Heights, and the ongoing discussion surrounding gentrification.