Moving Forward: Top Dog Coffee’s New Owner

Written by Judy Salamacha

December 15, 2022

Dustin at the barista station at Top Dog Coffee where he is often stepping in to train or help the staff.

A Merry Christmas and Happy New Year wish from me to you.

Now my gift: My favorite word is serendipity – defined by me as a memory of a random connection I’ve experienced over the years while meeting and writing your stories. Recently I interviewed Dustin Blom, the new owner/operator of Top Dog Coffee Bar and roaster for Rescue Me Coffee Company. I’m now even more convinced nothing that happens is truly random. The universe teases us with options. And, only if we recognize the universe is sending us a potential gift, and only if we are willing to pursue it, will that once casual connection become more than a pleasurable memory. The people we have met along the way just might become our ultimate connector to finding our next passion or our life’s purpose for being. I have been the beneficiary of this gift multiple times. So, as you consider goals for 2023, recall who you’ve met along the way that might help you accomplish something you’ve always wanted to do. It will bless both of you to reconnect.   

I believe Dustin and I met casually 15-16 years ago when I started writing for The Bay News or Sun Bulletin. I was interviewing Patrick Bietz, then the new owner of 2 Dogs Coffee on Main Street, Morro Bay. I pressed him on why he would give up his mega career as an award-nominated Hollywood movie sound editor to roast coffee and serve breakfast burritos in Morro Bay.

At the time Dustin was a student at Cuesta and eventually he’d graduate from Cal Poly. He and his surfing buddies were regulars at 2 Dogs. Dustin had already developed a savvy palette for tasty coffee and had chosen Patrick’s roast his favorite. I can hear Pat taking a quick pause from our interview to say, “Hey, guys! Surf good today?”

Patrick and Suzanne would soon move across the street and rename their dog friendly garden café Top Dog Coffee Bar and ultimately develop a unique concept for their Rescue Me Coffee Company.

A party in the Top Dog Coffee garden to say goodbye to Suzanne and Patrick and introduce Dustin and Timmie. Pictured are Patrick, Dustin and Timmie.

Dustin grew up in White Hall, CA – barely a blip on the map with a population of 12, he noted. He started developing his barista skills in high school at a favorite coffee stop in El Dorado County/South Lake Tahoe. Through mid-college, he continued to learn to love the smells and tastes of his preferred roasted coffee all the while he and his mother would dream about owning a coffee shop together once she retired.

“After 30 years, Mom is still a labor and delivery nurse living in White Hall.” Her son followed her into the health care profession as a fireman, EMT, and paramedic with AMR (American Medical Response) until early 2022 when the universe prompted Patrick and Suzanne to post Top Dog was for sale.

Dustin wasn’t actively looking, but his lingering dream shared with his mother randomly directed him to check the marketplace. And there it was – his favorite coffee place was available. He talked to his husband, Timmie Florea, and called Patrick the next day to begin the meetings to lock in the sale and train to take over operations. It was the right time and the right opportunity for Dustin to follow his passion.  It was the one and only offer Patrick and Suzanne considered. Patrick turned over the keys July 26, 2022.

Dustin knew he had not only purchased the shop and coffee roasting business, he intends to expand on the legacy Patrick and Suzanne created. For example, he and Timmie love their dogs and will continue to be a dog-friendly shop. They have two rescues at home. The subscription coffee program, Rescue Me Coffee Company, recently added Woods Humane Society for subscribers to select as the beneficiary of the percentage donation on sales offers. Additionally, Top Dog Coffee added Woods’ Wiggle Waggle Fall Fundraiser to their community sponsorship program.

While waiting for orders at the coffee bar, patrons are introduced to a video produced by Patrick about New Life K9’s prison program. It was another one of those serendipitous happenings that became a passion when Patrick and Suzanne attended a K9 graduation program. New Life K9s offers a training program at California Men’s Colony where incarcerated men train service puppies for Veterans and first responders suffering from PTSD.  Patrick was inspired to develop the concept for Rescue Me Coffee Company on his way home.

Since July, Dustin has set up his roasting warehouse intentionally adapting to Third Wave Roasting. This concept for roasters merges best practices for traditional roasting with innovations in new technology tools to perfect and replicate a roaster’s preferred recipes. Dustin will continue with Patrick’s talented broker to source worldwide certified sustainable farmers. Sustainable industry practices will be Dustin’s guideline and quest throughout his ownership tenure.

Will the menu change? Certainly, favorites will continue to be served, including the Top Dog Breakfast Burrito, Avocado Toast with Morro Creek Farms avocados, Lox Bagel, and Mad Max Grilled Cheese.

Dustin has always been in the service industry and in his own way will continue to serve his community. EMS practitioners, law enforcement, military/veterans are offered a free ice coffee espresso and 50% off food items any day they visit.

“I would have appreciated a cup of coffee when I was on the job,” said Dustin.  

Attendees of the Morro Bay Maritime Museum’s Family Fun Day in October sampled Top Dog’s tasty morning muffins in the Best of Blueberry muffin contest. Dustin also intends to become an active member with the Morro Bay Chamber of Commerce. And each Saturday afternoon, Dustin supports the Community Market inviting locals and visitors to take a chance spinning Top Dog’s winners’ wheel for free samples instantly redeemable inside the shop.

Before Patrick “went fishing” he put the finishing touches on Top Dog’s garden. It’s always available for quiet time to conduct meetings or visit during breakfast or lunch. Dustin added heaters to ward off the afternoon chill. More entertainment was added in the fall, which will begin again in February. The Central Coast Comedy Club will be back and the popular ReBoot continues between March and October.

Who knew that college kid that regularly enjoyed coffee after surfing Morro Rock would one day be ready to buy Patrick and Suzanne’s coffee business when Patrick and Suzanne were ready to “go fishing” in Idaho?

The universe alerted them to their gift, and each said yes and were twice blessed to reconnect. 

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