Paseo 17, formerly Plaza Sereno, in Costa Mesa used to be a medical plaza. Now, the recently reimagined center is home to a diverse mix of dining and shopping tenants offering home goods, beauty, jewelry, clothing and more.
“We completed the remodel because the property has great potential to be a gathering place for the local Costa Mesa and Newport Beach communities,” said Bryon Ward, president and chief operating officer of Burnham Ward Properties, which owns and manages the plaza. “We’re proud of the aesthetic that the remodel created.”
Spanish-style architecture, arched walkways and terra cotta tiles house newly branded boutiques, like Layered by Paige Elise, Mama Bijoux and restaurants like Greenleaf Kitchen & Cocktails and Milligram Coffee + Kitchen.
“We fell in love with this space” said Ed Moffatt, owner of Milligram Coffee + Kitchen, on the wooden deck that overlooks Paseo 17’s water fountain.
Originally from Melbourne, Australia, Moffatt also owns Common Room Roasters, a popular specialty coffee roastery in Newport Beach.
Espresso machines were introduced to Australia by generations of Italian and Greek immigrants after World War II, and the 1950s enjoyed an espresso boom. That method of brewing coffee came to be preferred over drip coffee, which is favored in the States.
Moffatt brought his experience working as a head roaster in Melbourne to Common Room Roasters and is now bringing that expertise to Milligram, a European-style coffee shop where customers are encouraged to savor their cup, with table service, a full menu and, of course, well-made coffee.
“We tried to blur the lines between coffee shop, restaurant and wine bar, all [mixed] together” said Moffatt. “It is all of those three things without being any one of them.”
Rather than ordering a coffee with a cashier on one end and picking it up minutes later from a barista on the other end, guests at Milligram are asked if they wish to dine in or take out.
“Table service was always a non-negotiable,” said Moffatt. “You can obviously order to-go coffee at the counter, but you can also get seated, get menus, get served at the table. We have no QR codes. It is old-fashioned customer service.”
Milligram is coming up on its first anniversary in June, and the neighborhood has embraced its style of service, Moffat said.
“I find a lot of the patrons are conditioned in café world to order at the counter,” Moffatt said. “Now they come marching in and sit down at a table. Now people love it.”
The service ultimately allows customers to spend more time connecting with each other at a table rather than waiting in line alone.
“If you go sit down, and we bring it all to you, you can hang out as a family and let us do it,” said Moffatt.
Milligram offers a short, European-inspired menu with items like a smoked salmon bagel for breakfast and sandwiches and salads at lunchtime along with “grazing plates” served until closing, and it recently added a happy hour on Fridays from 4 to 6 p.m.
The shop’s large wooden deck extends into Paseo 17’s courtyard and hosts Vinyl Sundays on the first Sunday of each month for music lovers. Moffatt said as the weather warms, he plans to begin hosting wine-tasting nights, highlighting wines from Australia one month and France the next.
The space, located at 243 E. 17th St., is available for special and private events, and Moffatt said Milligram has many ways to be of service.
“It can be whatever you need it to be. So people have it as a coffee place, some people it is a brunch place,” said Moffatt. “For some people it is a working lunch, some people it is an afternoon glass of wine and charcuterie board type place. Everyone uses it for a different thing.”