Photo by Jenna Sweeney
Claire Denis of Cafe Mimosa, as indispensable to her business as she is to Topanga
If you live in Topanga, chances are youâve been to Cafe Mimosa. The second longest-standing establishment in the canyon, Mimosa has served as a meeting ground for the community since 1993. It is, arguably, as indispensable to Topanga as anything else could beâ but, undoubtedly, nothing is as indispensable to Cafe Mimosa as Claire.
Claire grew up in the countryside of Normandy, France, where she started working at a very young age. Her work ethic and high energy that developed so early on, very much informed her career. In 1988, she visited Los Angeles for the first time with her American partner, whom she connected with in Paris. Later, the couple would make L.A. home, settling in the San FernandoValley, not too far away from Topanga. She took on a number of jobs to stay busy, among them, baking for coffee shops, making hats, creating greeting cards, and even dabbled in sculpture.
It wasnât until she began working at Cafe Mimosa, owned by another French woman, that she found her groove and true sense of home within the community. Eighteen years ago, the opportunity arose for her and her partner to take over the business and they excitedly hopped on it, hoping to generate a steady income for their two kids, Theo, now 29, and Pauline, now 23, who often helps behind the counter. Since then, Mimosa has thrived, serving the community and those passing through, day in and day out.
Her favorite part of the business, she says, is to share in peopleâs lives, and watch friendships, new and old, blossom. Claire tries to source her goods, baked and handmade, from creatives in Topanga in order to support the community, especially during these times. The pandemic, she says, was actually good for business, as people clung to familiarity and community in any way they knew how. She also attributes this success to her attitude, remarking, âIf you surrender to what is, everything flowsâjust allow it to become something else.â
With charm, both old and new, Cafe Mimosa has consistently represented home for many people, keeping them grounded and connected in a changing world, all thanks to Claire.