When Merced resident Vivien Chui lived in Ohio, she was a fashion designer.
She lived the good life -- traveling, eating at fancy restaurants, and designing clothes.
Then she came to Merced.
"There was nothing like that in this town," Chui said.
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Chui, who came to Merced because her husband's family lives here, decided she had to do something completely different than fashion design in order to make a living.
So Chui opened a cafe. The Fusion Cafe, behind the Merced Mall, is a small restaurant that caters to the younger crowd.
"My husband and I met because of bubble tea," Chui said. "He was working at a bubble tea place in Columbus, so I decided I might open a place like that in Merced."
The little cafe is a nice place to hang out, with a couch and other amenities for customers, Chui said. It has become popular with college students from both UC Merced and Merced College.
"We have something for everybody here," she said. "It's a friendly place."
Bubble tea, made with either tapioca pearls or jelly in the drink, is probably the most popular item on the small menu, but there is also a variety of food available.
Chui said she tried to keep the menu small because she doesn't have a big restaurant.
"We have specials every week, along with a combination menu and rice bowls," Chui said.
One of the most popular items on the food menu is popcorn chicken, which can be made super spicy, mild or plain.
Then there's the Hong Kong style egg puff. Chui said it's similar to waffles, only in small puffs.
The cafe is on Facebook, and Chui said her customers check Facebook to see what the specials are on any given day.
"I want to have a friendly place," Chui said. "When people come here, they are like family. I call people by their first names."
Reporter Carol Reiter can be reached at (209) 385-2486 or firstname.lastname@example.org.