For those of you who may be interested, here is a little scoop on our story…
Co-owners Jennifer Park and Tucker Lewis were a sprightly 18 and 26 when they first met behind the counters of a now defunct ice cream shop in Harvard square. It was behind those counters that the idea of Diesel was first conceived. Mostly, it seemed more a fantasy than a reality – a land where we would drink coffee all day long, work with people we loved, respect the people with whom we worked and hopefully create a strong community along the way. Our ultimate goal was to simply serve enough customers to keep our doors open for a while and allow us the chance at this ideal. But, if ever there were a story of how not to do something, it would be the tale of opening Diesel Cafe.
Any architect would tell you, don’t fall in love with a space, any accountant would tell you, don’t sign a lease that is higher than your projected monthly income. any fool could tell you, don’t max out all of your high-interest credit cards so you can pay for equipment, contractors, and cover payroll. And whatever you do, all will insist that you never start a business with your best friend. We struggled to have bankers, landlords, vendors, and contractors take us seriously. We even had one real estate developer tell us that it was unlikely we would find any place that would consider us as anything more than a liability. Fortunately we slept through the warning part of these messages, threw caution to the wind and ultimately lead with our hearts.
We believed in all things possible. Three long years after its initial conception, Diesel first opened its doors on a glorious (and VERY hectic) Saturday, the 29th day of May in 1999. A lot has happened since that day and what we realize is that Diesel is so much more than simply a dream job. It’s bigger than that for us. We will be forever affected and changed by the connections we have made, by the bonds we have formed, for the things we have learned, for the opportunities we gained and for the evolution we have been allowed. We are humbled and grateful.
Diesel is a foolish story with a happy ending. It is a love story, not the typical kind necessarily, but every bit as epic.
To date, we remain best friends.