What’s the Scoop: A Better Day Cafe


Photo by Allyssa Ertz

Allyssa Ertz, Arts & Life Editor

The rustic, yet modern storefront display of Better Day Café entices customers to stop in to enjoy the warm smell of freshly brewed espresso and sweet pastries.  Regulars sit in velvety chairs or retro booths, while oldies music plays over the speakers.

This uptown Storm Lake getaway, located at 518 Lake Avenue, serves coffee, espresso, tea, smoothies, Blue Bunny ice cream, as well as a lunch menu and many delectable bakery treats. With its walkable location and quiet coziness, Better Day Café hopes to attract Buena Vista University’s students.

Owner of Better Day Café, Topiz Martinez, decided to open his coffee shop and restaurant when his father retired.  Originally from Minneapolis, Martinez chose to locate his café in downtown Storm Lake because the building was already owned by his family.  He saw it as a wonderful commercial location for a café business.

“My family owned the building.  I originally worked for my father, so when he retired, I decided to start a café in this building since it was already in my family.  I thought it was a great location to have a café,” said Martinez.

Better Day Café has been in business for over two and a half years.  Martinez began his café with a target market, college students, in mind, and saw it as a plus to be located in a college town.  However, over the last year, Martinez said café has morphed itself into a sort of lunchtime joint. Yummy menu offerings like Martinez’s favorite, the CBA (a savory sandwich which brings together chicken, bacon, avocado, cheddar cheese, tomato, lettuce and mayonnaise), have drawn the downtown crowd during lunch breaks.

“Our chicken avocado salads were selling out constantly during the summer,” Martinez said.

BVU students do pop into Better Day Café, but Martinez says he would love to appeal to more of the college crowd.  If the specialty drinks like the Toasted Marshmallow Latte and a Tropical Mango Smoothie aren’t tempting enough, students can pick from the vast array of scrumptious coffee flavors such as cookie butter, tiramisu, aztec mocha and cinnamon bun.

Martinez would love to see BVU students walk in with laptops to sip some of the savory coffee he serves, enjoy a tasty treat and the free wifi while they take in the easy atmosphere Better Day Café has to offer.

Shake and malt flavors, coffee options, and smoothie flavors along with their prices all hang above the counter, written on chalkboards in soft pastel colors.  Below, muffins and other pastries in a glass case lure customers in with their tasteful display.  Ice cream flavors are also creatively jotted down on scoops of a large,a hand-drawn  ice cream cone display on the wall.

Martinez originally thought that the café would be a lunch and afternoon hangout place, but Better Day Café has ended up being more of a breakfast and lunch place.  The entire arrangement of this delightful café is aesthetically gratifying, and Martinez would like to change the environment up a bit.

“Minneapolis cafés close at 8 or 9 PM, so I am trying to imitate that.  I want people to come in with their books or laptops and use the wi-fi to do their work while they hang out. I’d like to make it that type of environment.”  he said.

The Better Day Café is open for business from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Saturdays and 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Sundays.