Park Profiles: Meet Daniel White!

Kristen MihalkoBalboa Park Cultural Partnership, One Park - One Team

Meet Daniel White!


Daniel is the owner and operator of “Daniel’s Coffeelocated in the Spanish Village Art Center. His coffee and specialty drinks selection, as well as great customer service reviews, has brought him and his staff members praise and a long lasting reputation of quality brew.

How did Daniel’s Coffee get its start?

When I was nineteen, I started working as a Barista here in the Park at a coffee cart called “Common Grounds”. At night I would work for maintenance at the House of Hospitality. I was one of the only consistent staff members of the cart, so when the owner decided to sell the cart, I bought it and changed the name to “Daniel’s Coffee”.  That was in 1998, almost 18 years ago, and I’ve been at the Park ever since!

What has surprised you most about working here in Balboa Park?

Definitely the community feeling between Park staff and the communication that takes place between institutions. Everyone always works together and gets along. It is never a competition but rather a support space where everyone wants to see each other succeed. Everyone who works here is happy and personable, and it really translates into the atmosphere of the Park.

Daniel’s Coffee has a reputation of having amazing customer service, with very friendly staff. What does your team do to stay positive and enthused?

I think the main aspect is that we all love what we do. If you are happy where you are and with what you are doing, it shines onto your customer service. We try to be extra personable and remember that without customers we are out of a job! More importantly, we really enjoy the people working in the Park. As for my team members, I think it is key to do everything possible to keep a good staff, don’t give them a reason to leave, give them reasons to stay.

What is your best advice in encountering a new situation or tricky situation?

My best advice is work hard and get out of your comfort zone to be creative. Do everything you can to find a way, resolve a situation, and make it work.

Will there be any new drinks or items coming to the cart?

I am currently exploring new ways of trying to enter the ‘cold brew’ world. We just started selling and making cold brew, which is very exciting! I’m also exploring how to bring more European and artisan baked goods to the cart (I’m looking for a really good biscotti!).

What is your biggest seller or most request drink?

Everyone loves the Chai Tea Latte, it is a very popular drink. Also our Matcha Green Tea Frappe has gotten a very positive reaction. There was someone who was visiting from the east coast and said that our Frappe was the best she had ever tried- there was nothing like it! I’d say these two have been quite popular, but number one would be our Regular Brewed Coffee, its number one!

What is your favorite thing to do in San Diego?

My favorite thing to do is definitely go to Julian with my family. Eating Apple Crisp Pie and walking around the shops, nothing beats that.

Favorite book, TV show, movie, or song?

Well, my favorite book and favorite TV show are quite different from one another. My favorite book is The Bible, and my favorite TV Show is “Golden Girls”. I grew up on the show and have seen almost every episode!

What did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to do something with animals, maybe a veterinarian. I was a reptile specialist at Petco for some time, but that was as close as I have gotten to working with animals.

What is your favorite spot in Balboa Park?

My favorite spot in the Park is the Timken Museum first and second is the Spanish Village, because of the great artists and creativity that can be found here. Both spots are beautiful!