Sometimes, when one door to caffeine closes, another quickly opens.
Cincinnati's Evanston neighborhood will soon be home to a new cafe called Cream + Sugar Coffeehouse in the space once occupied by a prior coffee shop called Community Blend.
The shop is owned by two black women, Taren Kinebrew and Crystal Grace, who have been friends for over three decades and have individual businesses and nonprofits organizations throughout the city.
The two say they wanted to work together to create a space that would empower members of the community as well as future entrepreneurs, while incorporating their passion of coffee and food. Slated to open in February or March of 2020, Cream + Sugar will serve coffee, breakfast and lunch with a focus on locally-sourced and plant-based ingredients, to patrons throughout the Evanston neighborhood and beyond, as well as the Xavier community.
Both Grace and Kinebrew own businesses in the service field, separate from their forthcoming joint venture. Grace owns Sharonville's Grace + Grit Spa and a non-profit called What Love Does, which offers free self care services to cancer patients and their caregivers. Kinebrew is the owner of Over-the-Rhine's Sweet Petit Desserts, which offers a variety of bite-sized desserts, as well as a non-profit called Junior Baking Series that teaches youth who are interested in a career of baking.
The team decided on Evanston as a neighborhood for several reasons. The historically-black community is not only where Grace grew up, but it's where she owns her home and feels most connected.
After Community Blend closed, there was a void at the corner of Brewster Avenue and Montgomery Road that needed to be filled.
For Grace and Kinebrew, it was an opportunity to be a part of Evanston's up-and-coming business district, and to provide healthy food in a community where it isn't always easy to come by.
Organic coffee and tea for the shop will be sourced locally, and the team has hired a chef to begin working on a menu for the cafe.
"We chose the plant-based route for most of the menu to educate people that you can eat great food without high amounts of bad fats," they explained in an email interview. "We are two African American women who recognize that heart disease, high cholesterol, and diabetes run rapid in our culture and we want to offer an alternative to combat those sometimes fatal diseases."
The two want to find other ways to connect and serve the community as well.
"We are looking forward to the partnerships we will build while also implementing a mentor program for children 7-10 years of age," they explained in a press release.
According to the Kinbrew and Grace, the ambiance of the space will evoke a calming vibe, with shades of blue and teal, and will offer window seating as well as lounge space for larger groups.
Cream + Sugar Coffeehouse, 3546 Montgomery Road, Evanston.