ChefView-Cafe Deva

Chef View By Dana Johnson

Dana~licious Delighted @ Deva’s!

Oh yes Modesto, if you love melt in your mouth food, soulful blues music, and/or have an eye for passionate art, Deva Café has it all! It was a Sunday morning in downtown Modesto when I was drawn in by decadent aromas of breakfast, the inescapable sound of the Poorhouse Millionaires, and local artists adorning the walls throughout Deva Café. This is the only place I know of in all of Stanislaus County where breakfast is served on Sundays with a free live band playing. What a fabulous way to indulge into Sunday, breakfast with the Millionaires!

I had such a fabulous time on that Sunday, I decided to taste a bit further. I called Big Earl Matthews, lead singer of the Poorhouse Millionaires, also known for Big Earl & the Crying Shame, to meet with me & fill me in on the awesome find. Plus Earl is the Blues Editor for our very own Modesto View! Check out his well-connected to the blues world articles! Earl at the perfect age of 36 has been familiar with Deva’s as far back as the 90’s when he used to be the dishwasher! Now his band plays there every Sunday from 10am to Noon and they come in an hour earlier to enjoy their favorite menu items! Band members: Ray Vazira, Nathan Ignacio and Eli Lester love to play this weekly tasty gig, too! Earl’s girlfriend, Felicia and their 4 grandkids are also huge Deva food fans! Earl told me he loves Deva’s sausage and eggs with the house-baked mega thick wheat toast. Lol when asked if we wanted fresh raspberry or apricot jam, we answered the same “both!” Earl also can be spied there during the week lunching on the meatloaf sandwich on focaccia bread or an irresistible chicken salad sandwich.

Lorena Loftis has been the owner of Deva’s for the past 10 years, though originally established 21 years ago. Lorena and her wife Jamie have been together 7 years and have a 5 year old son Bryce who loves to spend time helping out at the family restaurant. Lorena and Jamie have shared in Deva’s business venture together while still frequenting other local faves like Vito’s Ristorante, Papachino’s, and Fuzio’s. Lorena confessed she is guilty of eating one chocolate chip cookie at Deva’s every day! I’d eat way more than that if the truth be told! Lorena’s fave sandwich is Euphoria; warm breast of chicken with fresh tomato, lettuce, onion, Jarlsberg cheese and herb mayo on focaccia bread.

As I was listening to Earl tell me about some of the other reasons he likes his band to play @ Deva’s; I found me devouring a crepe that I created myself from the 16 choices of fillings! I went with the bacon, feta, basil, spinach, and garlic! Totally Dana~licious!!! I also munched down the red roasted potatoes, ultra thick sourdough toast, and alternated bites with Deva’s White Mischief white chocolate~ caramel hot coffee drink. As I was likely (and rudely smacking, sorry Earl!) Earl talked about just how nice the acoustics are there & that he doesn’t even have to plug in. He was smiling telling me about the great lighting, the friendly feeling soon as you walk in, and how he really adores this place. Then the big interruption!!! Lorena brings us more food! A crepe, not just any crepe but one stuffed with fresh strawberries, bananas, Nutella, and covered in whipped cream! I went straight for the fork & reminded Earl he had a meeting to get to while I kinda (haha barely!) insisted he stay & share this dream crepe with me! Without fighting or injury Earl & I did a pretty good job of polishing off the plate!

As I visited with Lorena I found we share the same passion when it comes to high quality, freshly prepared, and Dana~licious foods. I was equally impressed how clean she insists her restaurant must be maintained. I asked Lorena where she sees herself in 5 years from now, with a full smile and her eyes bright she said “Right here.” My first thought was; Great for me and the rest of the food loving families and friends of Modesto! In lieu of a clip out recipe this month come into Deva Café and order your own recipe, the combinations are numerous with 16 filling choices for an omelet, scramble, or a crepe! The lunch menu also boasts homemade soups, salads, pasta salads, and hot/cold sandwiches. Deva Café has a decent selection of wine, beer, and I had champagne with my Sunday brunch!

Modesto View signature question to Lorena: Beatles or Stones? “That’s a toughy, um, Beatles but they are aging me” Yep, that’s another reason why I stick with the Stones for their youthful energy!!!

Deva Café

7:00 am – 3:00 pm. Sunday 8:00 am – 12:00 pm

Art Walk open every 3rd Thursday 5-9pm!

1202 J Street Modesto, Ca 95354




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