“We’re not a mom and pop shop, we’re a mom and mom shop!” said Mah Mi.
Photo by Connor Betterly
In 1967, MOM’s (Middle of Muir) Café was established by queer couple Mah Mi and Moe Ther, both UC San Diego alumni, who wanted to “provide a welcoming, inclusive environment for students to embrace each other’s identities, while purchasing the two most delicious commodities we could market as integral to LGBTQ+ identity without violating obscenity laws: tea and iced coffee.” Now, the couple (referred to by their patrons as “Ms. and Ms. Mom”) have decided to pass on their legacy by adopting a child. Once the adoption process is complete, they will begin training their protégé as “Heir/Child-monarch” of their enterprise.
However, Mi and Ther are facing financial difficulties on the long road to adoption, specifically legal fees, housing construction, and travel expenses. To compensate, MOM’s will now be serving all pastries with a side of pureed applesauce and a “not-so-hidden” service fee of $2. They have also partnered with the History Department at UCSD to establish a new mandatory GE course requirement, HILD 66: History and Methods of Latte Art, and will collect the mandatory $100 materials fee needed to enroll in the course.
MOM’s will also hold fundraisers and events such as open mic comedy nights (coffee jokes only), muffin crumb-eating contests, and speed espresso-pulling competitions. Additionally, following in the footsteps of “one of the most iconic LGBTQ+ icons,” MOM’s has begun fracking in the Muir
garden to help offset childcare costs. When concerned students asked if MOM’s prices would be raised to pay for the drilling equipment, the couple said, “The financial burden will not be shifted onto students, but if anyone has any hydraulic fracturing blenders, we will happily accept them and give you a 50-cent discount off your next purchase.”
While Mi and Ther have received mostly positive, supportive reactions from close friends and family, some student employees have criticized the couple’s decision. One student, Barry Sta, expressed an especially negative reaction after hearing the announcement. “I do love working at MOM’s, but I hate children. I know Mah and Moe both have busy lives, but they told us we will now be known as ‘barista-sitters’ since we have to look after the baby. The baby doesn’t even help! I don’t get paid enough to care for a child who doesn’t have ‘thrives in fast-paced environments’ on its résumé. I already drink seven quad-shots a day when I’m here, and babysitting would make me need an eighth — now that’s a caffeine addiction.”
Until their interview date in 2041, the couple is preparing for the baby’s arrival by hosting weekly baby naming ceremonies in which loyal MOM’s customers fill a suggestion box with names. Mi and Ther have deemed their favorites so far to be Peet, Java, and Cuppa-Joe. Mi and Ther decided the final name will be chosen through a lottery system in which a name will be picked out of a hat, and the submitter will be deemed “the third MOM” of the baby.