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Tomorrow Arda's Celebrates Four Years, but that Wasn't Really the Beginning

By Eric Richardson
Published: Thursday, February 28, 2008, at 04:01PM
Arda's Cafe Eric Richardson [Flickr]

Arda's Cafe is located at 418 W. 6th street.

Tomorrow, February 29th, Arda's Cafe will be celebrating its fourth anniversary, and owner Jon Toktas is eager to have office workers and residents come down from 11am - 2pm to join in the festivities. It was on March 1st, 2004, that Toktas opened Arda's, the cafe named after his mother. The eatery was new, but the business builds on a foundation laid by both his parents.

For fifteen years Arda ran a tiny deli in the Park Central building, next door to where the cafe is now. She sold coffee and sandwiches and developed quite the following from those working in the jewelry buildings nearby. Jon says of the deli, "I practically grew up at the restaurant, traveling by bus to be down here after school from Pasadena." Eventually she decided to take a break and sell the deli, but can still often be found helping out in her son's cafe.

At the same time Jon's father owned Gift Connections, a shop located in the space Arda's now occupies. The shop sold cigars, fine wines and spirits, and a variety of figurines. Traces of Gift Connection live on through the current cafe: until you know the history it can be a little puzzling to walk into Arda's and see gift sets of liquor lining the wall.

The cafe Jon's idea, fresh out of school at USC. With his father's financial backing the family closed the gift store and started work converting the space to an eatery. After a year of planning and renovation the space reopened, serving breakfast and lunch during the week. Last March, Arda's added Saturday hours in recognition of the way the neighborhood has grown.

Arda's Cafe is at 418 W. 6th street. The 4th Anniversary celebration runs from 11am to 2pm.

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