Lakeland closings: Drica's Favorites to dish out coffee and pastries for the last time in January

·3 min read
Adriana Mellas inside Drica's Favorites Specialty Coffee Boutique, a mobile food truck serving specialty coffees and baked goods, in Lakeland, FL on Monday June 3, 2013.  Scott Wheeler/The Ledger
Adriana Mellas inside Drica's Favorites Specialty Coffee Boutique, a mobile food truck serving specialty coffees and baked goods, in Lakeland, FL on Monday June 3, 2013. Scott Wheeler/The Ledger

LAKELAND – If there is a secret ingredient at Drica’s coffee and pastry truck, it is a heap of cheerfulness and a dollop of friendship.

Adriana Mellas, 50, owner of Drica’s Favorites Specialty Coffee Boutique, announced that she will be serving her final cup in January when she retires from the coffee business.

“It has been my upmost joy to serve you and share life with you," Mellas said in a press release, "to know your families and your stories, to share life’s seasons over coffee, to make sure you left our window happier than when you arrived and that you started your day the right way — those were always my goals.”

“As a community, you have poured your heart, your loyalty, and your support beyond anything I could ever have dreamed,” she continued. “Your love and enthusiasm have been the secret fuel which has kept me going and succeeding year after year!”

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While busy catering to holiday parties and preparing for stops around Polk County, the busy entrepreneur said, “I don’t know how to be half in. I’m either all in or all out. So, I’m all out.”

Mellas will be selling the food truck but not the Drica’s business or brand, the release stated. Drica’s Favorites will be available at mobile locations around Polk County through holidays before the truck window will be shuttered for good on Jan. 8.

Adriana Mellas pours espresso into a cup while making a latte inside Drica's Favorites Specialty Coffee Boutique, a mobile food truck serving specialty coffees and baked goods, in Lakeland, FL on Monday June 3, 2013.  Scott Wheeler/The Ledger
Adriana Mellas pours espresso into a cup while making a latte inside Drica's Favorites Specialty Coffee Boutique, a mobile food truck serving specialty coffees and baked goods, in Lakeland, FL on Monday June 3, 2013. Scott Wheeler/The Ledger

From the window of her big yellow truck, the native Brazilian served coffee drinks and homemade delicacies including cheese bread, alfajores, guava cookies and empanadas.

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Mellas developed a loyal fan base of regulars who would check her scheduled stops via her website’s calendar, which are then posted to her Facebook and Instagram pages. That’s where her fans can see the truck’s final routes in the coming weeks.

Her regular stops included Southern Homes, Watson Clinic, Small Wonders Daycare, Peterson’s Nursery and many more around the Lakeland community. The last stop on Jan. 8 will be at Lakeland Group Fitness at 4688 Cleveland Heights Blvd.

Mellas also started a coffee shop at the Mulberry Public Library in March to explore starting brick-and-mortar locations, but that closed in September without plans for another location.

On hearing the news, customer Patty Bennett at Mark Lanier State Farm Insurance Agent, where the truck often stopped, said she and her colleagues in the office have “never had anything that we didn’t enjoy.”

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“We’ve always had a wonderful experience with Drica,” Bennett said.“When you go to Drica, you are going to get Drica.”

Mellas started the company in 2013 after moving to Mulberry from the New York City area in 2010. She had gained years of experience as a Starbuck store manager and earned a master’s degree in business administration from Wilkes University, in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

Adriana Mellas makes two espresso shots for a latte inside Drica's Favorites Specialty Coffee Boutique, a mobile food truck serving specialty coffees and baked goods, in Lakeland, FL on Monday June 3, 2013.  Scott Wheeler/The Ledger
Adriana Mellas makes two espresso shots for a latte inside Drica's Favorites Specialty Coffee Boutique, a mobile food truck serving specialty coffees and baked goods, in Lakeland, FL on Monday June 3, 2013. Scott Wheeler/The Ledger

Her husband, William Mellas, had asked his wife to join him on a trip to see the Detroit Tigers spring training in Lakeland and she fell in love with the area.

Mellas said she plans to take a vacation and look for a job in the spring.

“Drica’s Favorites has been soo much more than a successful and sustainable biz," she said. "It has been a lifestyle, a community, a safe place, and a support system. I am grateful, humble, and honored beyond any words can ever describe.”

Paul Nutcher covers business and industry for The Ledger. He can be reached at pnutcher@gannett.com.

This article originally appeared on The Ledger: Drica's Favorites Specialty Coffee Boutique in Lakeland is closing

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