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Established Harbor business owner and new partner hope to draw locals to re-opened Doheny beach stand
By Andrea Papagianis
It could have been a fleeting relationship, one where a local shop owner delivers coffee to a football mom on a mission to make her Dana Hills High School snack bar takeover organized and well run. But nearly 15 years after Kim Tilly and Jim Miller met at a Dolphins game, their relationship has come full circle.
Last week the pair unveiled Boneyard Cafe, a reimagining of beachside food at Doheny State Beach. Those in the surfing community know the name well.
Boneyard, is also the name of the surf break, right off the Harbor jetty, dating back to Dana Point’s surfing heyday, and it is that sense of history and community Tilly, Miller and partner George Gregory want to represent.
“We want to make this part of the community,” Miller said. “That’s the way it should be.”
Miller is no stranger to the Dana Point scene. For nearly 35 years, Miller has owned and operated The Coffee Importers in the OC Dana Point Harbor, with its coffee and espresso bar, Scoop Deck Ice Cream Shop, bagel shop and juice bar. He has been a prominent figure in the Harbor business community and it is something he got Tilly involved in after their snack bar days.
Since, the pair has worked harmoniously and challenged one another, like when Tilly convinced Miller to change his offerings—at a time when Coffee Importers didn’t serve gluten-free and non-dairy items—as Tilly’s daughters both have celiac disease, and are on a non-gluten diet.
And now, after years are talking and looking for a place to open a bakery, the pair stumbled upon the Doheny location. The previous owners’ lease of the beachside shack expired earlier this summer, and with their commitment coming to a close, they packed up and left.
Now, Tilly and Miller want to bring the shop up to their standards. By offering Miller’s bagel shop staples, Tilly’s gluten-free goods and new items from Miller’s daughter, Meredith, they’ll do just that, they said.
As the only food stop at Doheny, Boneyard will also handle the catering of special events. With the beach being home to summer camps galore, from surf to volleyball, Miller and Tilly hope to offer campers packed lunches next season.
For now, the summer is coming to an end and their short run is too. They’ll be open every weekend through September, and possibly October, if the weather is nice, the paid said. But starting next March, Miller and Tilly hope to attract more than just beach-goers to their new seaside shop, with a slightly different Dana Point view.
Boneyard Cafe is located inside of the park at Doheny State Beach, at 25300 Dana Point Harbor Drive, next to Wheel Fun Rentals.