The deep blue exterior of Coya’s Cafe stood out starkly against the grey Wednesday sky, an unassuming hint at the rainbow of colours that fills the restaurant’s dining room.
Blanca Moran, the owner, stood behind the counter, switching between Spanish and English as she described the menu created in collaboration with her family and staff.
Moran opened the cafe three years ago as a tribute to her mother, who previously operated a restaurant in the same location and taught her daughter her recipes.
Moran’s food and beverage menus have evolved as he discovered new ways to prepare dishes from various regions of Mexico, combining both traditional and new dishes for customers to enjoy.
“I just want people to feel as if they’re in a small piece of Mexico for a little while when they come in here,” Moran explained.
Coya’s Cafe, located at 4320 4th Ave. in Moline, is offering daily specials during QC Restaurant Week, an initiative highlighting various local restaurants through March 27.
Restaurant enthusiasts in the Quad Cities can take a photo of their receipt or a selfie with their food and submit it online for a chance to win restaurant gift cards.
The most distinctive item on Coya’s Cafe’s menu is also the most popular. Pablo, Moran’s 15-year-old son, created the Hot Cheetos and Takis burritos, as well as a variety of frappes. He works a couple of days a week in the restaurant, and Moran’s 25-year-old daughter, Daisy, assists with marketing.
Apart from meals, the cafe serves coffee, yoghurt, desserts, and other quick-service items that patrons can easily pick up and take with them. Everything is homemade.
“Despite the fact that our location is quite small, I make an effort to have a little bit of everything,” Moran explained.
Customers have shared fond memories of cooking and savouring similar dishes with their parents and grandparents. Moran explained that it is those customer stories and comments that make her job easier, even during the most trying times.
“There are days when you’re simply exhausted,” Moran explained. “And then someone comes along with a small comment that brightens your day. And you’re like, ‘All right. Yes, let us continue.’