If you were looking to spill the tea in Season 1 of “Big Little Lies,” the best place to go was the local coffee shop ― Blue Blues Cafe, in Monterey, California.
There, Celeste (Nicole Kidman) and Madeline (Reese Witherspoon) would chat away while the affable owner, Tom (Joseph Cross), was on hand with a friendly comment or to kick out Renata’s (Laura Dern) husband (Jeffrey Nordling) for harassing Jane (Shailene Woodley).
Ah, the good ol’ days.
Season 2, however, takes the women to another venue to espresso themselves, a seaside gazebo-like coffeehouse, which makes its first appearance in an uncomfortable scene between Madeline and Celeste’s mother-in-law, Mary Louise Wright, played by Meryl Streep.
That conversation is one of the highlights of the premiere episode, but it still manages to leave a Venti cappuccino-sized hole in our hearts where Blue Blues used to be.
Here’s the coffee shop in Season 1:
And here’s the new one in Season 2:
Ashley Tedesco, who owns the real-life Blue Blues, Monterey’s Paluca Trattoria, told HuffPost that the new coffee shop probably came about for a simple reason: Season 2 changed directors.
“If it had been the same guy, I’m guessing he probably would’ve used our place again,” said Tedesco, “because he’s come back since and brought his girlfriend to hang out and eat.”
According to Tedesco, Paluca Trattoria wasn’t originally supposed to be a location for the show, but that changed after her husband, Sal, and Vallée became friends.
“The director would come over to our place and just hang out in the mornings and have coffee and come and have lunch,” she said, “and he just sort of chatted with my husband, who’s the co-owner. He’s there every day. They sort of hit it off and that’s how it came to be, just on the fly.”
Tedesco said that for Season 2, production decided to build a gazebo-style cafe in a neighboring town. After filming wrapped up, she said the site was torn down.
As for Paluca Trattoria, “There was nothing from our end stopping them from using it, they just chose to do something a little different,” she told us.
HBO and Vallée didn’t immediately return HuffPost’s request for comment.
Blue Blues Cafe was actually created on a soundstage in Los Angeles, as the show’s location manager, Greg Alpert, recently explained to Eater. So Paluca Trattoria was truly just the inspiration for the spot.
“If you came to our place you can see it looks very different,” said Tedesco, adding, “There are certain elements you can put it together like, ‘Oh, yeah. It’s the place.’”
Even so, that hasn’t stopped “Big Little Lies” fans from visiting in droves.
“We are shocked. We cannot believe how many people come because of the show, still,” said Tedesco. “They found us. We didn’t push it out there. We didn’t push it out there at all. We didn’t advertise it on our social media. We were just really low key about it, but people sought us out.”
Today, Tedesco says the restaurant displays a “Big Little Lies” sign by the entrance, and you can see pictures on their Instagram of fans who made the journey.
“We didn’t know it’d be such a big deal. It’s been a nice little gift. Things [like that] don’t happen often in life, and then when they announced the second series we thought, ‘Oh my gosh. It’s like the bonus round,’” Tedesco said. “Even though we’re not in it, people are still coming because they’re excited about the show.”
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