published on October 5, 2016 - 7:27 AM
Written by The Business Journal Staff
A crowd of coffee lovers and “Gilmore Girls” fanatics lined up outside Fresno’s newest coffee shop, Yellow Mug Coffee, this morning to get a free cup of Luke’s Diner-inspired black coffee.


The hit show, which follows the lives of caffeine crazed mother-daughter duo Lorelai and Rory Gilmore, is returning Nov. 25 with four new 90-minute episodes on Netflix.

Ahead of the much-anticipated revival, Netflix decided to pay homage to show on the 16th anniversary of its pilot’s original air date by transforming 250 coffee shops throughout the nation into Luke’s Diner pop-ups. Luke’s Diner is the popular eatery the Gilmore girls frequent and it’s owned by Lorelai’s love interest, Luke Danes.

Yellow Mug Coffee, which just opened its doors in August near the Save Mart on Champlain and Perrin, was the only location in Fresno selected to participate and one of only 15 coffee shops in California, with most participating locations in Los Angeles and the Bay area.

Manager Kate O’Neil said she doesn’t know how Netflix chose the young coffee shop, but is grateful for the exposure.

“Netflix actually called us and asked us to be a part of this a couple of weeks ago and it was all confidential and we couldn’t release anything on social media until Oct. 1 and they gave us guidelines, saying on day one post this and day two, post this. Everything was mapped out for us,” O’Neil said.

Being a brand new coffee shop, O’Neil said it was a no-brainer to do the promotion with Netflix, as any free advertising gained would be a boost. Just on social media alone, since posting information about the event on Oct. 1, O’Neil said Yellow Mug Coffee has received over 200 likes on Facebook. Even with that increase in followers, O’Neil said she didn’t anticipate such a large line outside her coffee shop’s doors this morning.

“We weren’t expecting this,” O’Neil said. “We thought we would get like 50 people in the morning. I was thinking it would be a nonchalant deal and we would just have a few extra people but this line was down to Pokiland. We only have 500 Luke’s Diner cups and sleeves and we’re almost out already [at 9:30 a.m.].”

Netflix took charge of everything, from supplying the “Gilmore Girls” themed cups and sleeves to assisting with social media. All Yellow Mug Coffee had to do was supply the coffee.

O’Neil and her employees were even given a dress code to adhere to—flannel shirts and backwards baseball caps. Netflix provided baseball caps displaying the Luke’s Diner logo to employees. Some baristas also donned Luke’s Diner aprons.

Unfortunately for fans, none of the merchandise was for sale; the draw was just the free coffee and the opportunity to Snapchat selfies with the Luke’s Diner sign, as well as the shows famous No Cell Phones sign.

To O’Neil’s surprise, some fans traveled far to get their Luke’s Diner coffee fix.

“We had a girl drive down from San Luis Obispo and she had to be back there for work this morning,” O’Neil said. “She was the first person in line.”

While the “Gilmore Girls” event only runs until noon today, O’Neil said Yellow Mug Coffee will have its own discounts and drink specials, such as the Lorelai latte, this afternoon and evening. Yellow Mug Coffee is open until 8 p.m. today.

For more information about Yellow Mug Coffee, visit 

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