As a student at Lowell Catholic High School, Dara Svay had a dream of opening his own café, serving coffees, teas and sandwiches. In 2019, his dream came true when he and his then-girlfriend (now wife), Yahdirys "Didi" Liranzo-Svay, opened 978 Café at 5 Hampson Street.
Dara graduated from UMass Lowell and began a career in web design, and Yahdirys graduated from Middlesex Community College with a degree in Health Sciences. But both went all in on the café idea when they found a spot just a half-mile from UML’s North Campus, in the Walbrook Plaza at Pleasant and Hampson streets, former site of Dracut’s legendary Walbrook Restaurant.
Each has a niche: Dara is outgoing and usually mans the register and takes orders; Yahdirys is more introverted and prepares most of the orders.
“I like serving people and making their day,” Yahdirys says. “Dara is good at talking to people.”
Their ethnic backgrounds figure prominently on 978’s menu, which includes Cambodian coffee and a sweet chili meatball sandwich, and they are continuously updating their offerings.
“We put a lot of our own spin on things,” Dara says.
The 978 Café is open for breakfast and lunch Monday, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Saturdays, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Sundays, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.; and is closed on Wednesdays. Check them out at www.978cafe.com, or call 978-941-4367.