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Dec 28, 2012 02:47 PM

The San Gabriel Valley Marches Eastward

Well, the Valley itself isn't moving, but the Chinese footprint is headed east. Besides from the spillover from Arcadia into Monrovia, as many observers have noted there's also a significant movement into West Covina. Most conspicuous is the opening of the large 85°C Café location last week in West Covina, which is so spacious compared to the original Irvine store that it doesn't even look crowded. And now, there's good authentic Chinese food in Covina, at Venus Cafe (apparently unrelated to the popular NorCal enterprises of the same name). The restaurant is relatively small and the menu is relatively short, but Yelpers say this is the real deal and based on my corn sauce fish dish, I'd have to agree. Venus Cafe is at 972 N. Grand Ave.

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  1. Wasn't there a Hong Kong Market in West Covina before it failed? Seemed they tried expanding before but the population wasn't ready for it at the time.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Johnny L

      Yes, Hong Kong Market opened there almost 10 years ago, eventually turning what had been an American supermarket anchored shopping center into a Chinese-Indonesian center. The store went out of business in 2008 and the shopping center struggled for 2 years until HK 2 opened up in the space a couple of years ago.

      1. re: Chandavkl

        i go by there every few months, even with the new market, it is extremely dead with most of the parking lot empty

        imo, they just lack a large asian populace and nothing except for more asians moving into the area will help it

    2. 85C headed to Chino Hills

      After the WeCov branch, it's officially OK to stop caring about 85C's expansion plans as centralized baking and inventory takes effect. The only thing they got going was "fresh bread!!!"

      4 Replies
      1. re: TonyC

        well that's a bust.

        but Portos has the same model and they still deliver fantastic products, no?

        1. re: TonyC

          After going the first few times, i began to notice inconsistencies in their taste/quality and selection. (70 types of bread? maybe, but only 15 types avail at any one visit) Their drinks (coffee and all) are mediocre even for asian standards.

          That, and the other tw-style bakeries all updating their items to match the trends in tw/asia, make it so i rarely go to 85c now.

          1. re: blimpbinge

            Agree on all notes.

            the coffee "drinks" border disgusting. the only redeeming value of 85C in China was the hot sea salt "latte". The cold sea salt latte tastes like someone dumped a teaspoon of maldon into stale coffee (and they are indeed stale, as all beans are purportedly shipped in from Taiwan)

            1. re: TonyC

              this is jason (above) btw, new sn