Highlighting Queer-Owned Cafés Across the U.S.: Part Five

We continue this series, uncovering queer-owned gems in the South, the West, and beyond.

BY EMILY JOY MENESES
BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE

This is the fifth part of an article series in which we spotlight one queer-owned café shop in each of the 50 states. Be sure to check out parts one, two, three, and four, and read on to learn more about some awesome LGBTQ+-run businesses.

A drag queen in blue gown and wig sits with a book in Rofhiwa Book Cafe, with books lined along the wall behind them.
Drag Story Hour Triangle visits Rofhiwa Book Cafe in Durham, N.C. Photo courtesy of Drag Story Hour Triangle.

North Carolina: Rofhiwa Book Cafe

Coffee, live music, poetry readings, and educational discussions are all part of a normal week at Durham, N.C.’s Rofhiwa Book Cafe. The Black and queer-owned shop is dedicated to “fostering a spirit of heightened engagement by curating a living, active, and affective collection of books that capture the dexterity of Black writers across classic and contemporary works.” The shop recently had to rebuild after an incident led to severe damages to the storefront, requiring a two-month repair process. Both management and followers remain hopeful for Rofhiwa’s strong return.

North Dakota: Archives Coffee House

University of North Dakota favorite Archives Coffee House is a queer-owned café constantly bustling with activity. Open-mic nights, planting parties, trivia nights, and more have made the shop a favorite amongst locals looking for coffee and community.

The rainbow colored and unicorn adorned coffee truck: the Galaxy Coffee.
The Galaxy Coffee is Columbus, Ohio’s first queer-owned coffee truck. Photo courtesy of The Galaxy Coffee.

Ohio: The Galaxy Coffee

With its colorful exterior and title as Columbus’ first queer-owned coffee truck, the Galaxy Coffee naturally stands out. Operating as a worker cooperative, the truck serves Upper Cup Coffee and is known for its community-centered features like its Community Jar, where customers can contribute funds that can be used to cover coffee or pastries for anyone in need. 

In the window of Willow Coffee Co, a pride flag hangs above the cafe tables inside.
Willow Coffee, located in Oklahoma City. Photo courtesy of Willow Coffee.

Oklahoma: Willow Coffee

Cozy specials like the Autumn Mocha, a latte infused with housemade honey cinnamon syrup and Bolivian single-origin chocolate, make Willow Coffee an unmissable spot in Oklahoma City. Other notable features: The shop also regularly hosts events like plant swaps and thrift pop-ups by Bonhomie Thrift, another queer-owned, OKC-based business.

A glittery rainbow with clouds adorns the display of an iced latte and hot coffee drink at Speed-O.
Vegan coffee drinks at PDX’s Speed-o Cappuccino. Photo courtesy of Speed-o Cappuccino.

Oregon: Speed-o Cappuccino

Speed-o Cappuccino is a queer- and sex-worker-owned coffee cart located in Portland, O.R.’s Lil’ America, a food cart pod that exclusively houses BIPOC- and queer-owned businesses. Dahlia Hanson, the owner, has employed fellow sex workers and dancers. Bonus points: The shop’s menu is also 100% vegan. It features homages to Dahlia’s Mexican heritage, like strawberry tamales and Tostado Coffee Roasters beans sourced from Chiapas and Oaxaca.

Sesame milk and sesame latte.
A sesame milk latte at Providence, R.I.’s Small Format. Photo courtesy of Small Format.

Rhode Island: Small Format

Sesame milk lattes, live music, and regular queer knitting circles and book club meet-ups—Providence, R.I.’s Small Format may become your new go-to queer-owned coffee shop. The space also serves cocktails and serves as an art gallery and music venue, often showcasing and hosting local artists and musicians.

Pink, blue and purple lights in an art installtion at Small Format.
Small Format hosts queer knitting circles, book club meet-ups, and other events. Photo courtesy of Small Format.

Keep an eye out for more installments of this series, where we’ll uncover even more queer-owned cafés across the 50 states!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Emily Joy Meneses (she/they) is a writer and musician based in Los Angeles. Her hobbies include foraging, cortados, vintage synths, and connecting with her Filipino roots through music, art, food, and beverage.

Subscribe and More!

December 2023 + January 2024 Issue cover

Out now: It’s the December 2023 + January 2024 issue! Read it for free with our digital edition. And for more than three years’ worth of issues, visit our digital edition archives here.

You can order a hard copy of the magazine through our online store here, or start a subscription for one year or two.

About baristamagazine 2060 Articles
Barista Magazine is the leading trade magazine in the world for the professional coffee community.