A Cafe Cà Phê satellite location inside 12th Street Post in the West Bottoms is the perfect step for continuing the mission of Kansas City’s only Vietnamese coffee shop, shared founder Jackie Nguyen.
Just shy of the one year anniversary of its Columbus Park space, Cafe Cà Phê celebrated the grand opening of its new coffee spot — 1501 West 12th Street — during July’s First Fridays weekend.
“It’s chaotic, but it’s also iconic at the same time,” said Nguyen, one of Startland News’ 2023 Community Builders to Watch. “And I love that for all of us. It’s perfect because I didn’t want to expand to another shop. I wasn’t ready. That was never my intention anyway. My intention was always to stay really focused on my one location and the baristas that make up that location. But in support of my community and seeing that the goals that we want for people of color, we have to expand and we have to take risks. This was a little risk.”
The West Bottoms location inside of the local maker collective — which features the signature 12th Street cold brew with yuzu syrup, local honey, and Vietnamese robusta cold brew — will be open every weekend from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and every First Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The space is expected to allow Nguyen to continue her mission of employing more people of color and queer people; letting them network in the community, she said.
“I saw it as the perfect opportunity to then be like, ‘Well, if I am going to expand, I only want to do it in a smaller version that enhances what I already have and doesn’t take away from what I have in Columbus Park,’” she continued. “We worked together [with 12th Street Post] to create the perfect schedule and it’s not too overwhelming for my staff. But it’s enough to get them to learn about the West Bottoms, experiment with a new environment, and bring more culture to a different spot of Kansas City. I love it.”
Click here to read more about Cafe Cà Phê’s long-awaited storefront.
Having a coffee shop like Cafe Cà Phê inside 12th Street Post is perfectly aligned with the maker-friendly retail space’s own mission, shared Austin Mosier — who co-founded the collective, West Bottoms Plant Co., and Untamed Supply with partner Tristan Carlson.
“Cafe Cà Phê is a power house of love, support, and community,” he explained. “They love everybody and make everybody feel welcome, no matter where they are, what neighborhood they’re in, or where they come from. That’s something that’s always been very important to us — building the safest place that we can — the space that we needed. I feel like bringing (Cafe Cà Phê) in this room really helped complete that circle.”
12th Street Post celebrated its grand opening in December 2022 and has already grown from 80 makers to 140, noted Mosier, who said they are especially thankful for their landlords who have made the space even more welcoming by opening up the original front door to the old post office building and creating an ADA compliant ramp.
“This space is just a true blessing,” he added, “and I feel like we’ve done a lot to help it grow.”
It feels nostalgic to return to the West Bottoms, Nguyen said; for a time she housed her coffee cart in the winter at Firebrand Collective before opening her own brick and mortar, and it’s where she first met Mosher and Carlson at a “Stop Asian Hate” vigil in spring 2021.
“It reminds me of New York, where I lived for 10 years,” Nguyen said of the neighborhood. “The West Bottoms — to me — feels like an artist’s hub and a very creative space with a lot more room to grow. We’ve already seen a lot of customers that we used to see that haven’t had a chance to go to Columbus Park, but they live down the street. So it really feels like a little bit of a homecoming.”
Both Mosier and Nguyen said the collaboration between 12th Street Post and Cafe Cà Phê will continue as long as the community needs it and they also plan to do activities — like enrichment classes — to nourish the community.
“There’s a lot more to come, but it’s just going to be according to whatever our community needs,” Nguyen explained. “Cafe Cà Phê hopes for a lot of fun activation down here with culture. I’d love to feature more AAPI artists in the space or queer makers, things that really feel empowering for the Cafe Cà Phê brand and mission.”