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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.