Kusanya Café to offer sit-down dining, coffee in Englewood

Kusanya Café to offer sit-down dining, coffee in Englewood

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Normally, a new coffee shop creates a little buzz, but in Englewood, it's a big deal for residents and the group behind its opening.

When supporters of Kusanya Cafe couldn't get a loan, they formed a non-profit organization and raised their own money to open a coffee shop in Englewood. Now, it's down to the wire to see this dream come true after years of obstacles fueled by a down economy.

Stephanie Montgomery was excited to find out the new coffee shop is slated to open next week in her neighborhood.

"We don't have enough of it in our community," Englewood resident Stephanie Montgomery says. "We need something like this to connect and communicate and to sit down and have coffee."

The original flooring, wood accents and snapshots of Englewood fill the 1960's inspired Kusanya Cafe. Inside, Englewood resident Phil Sipka puts the finishing touches on decor while Donald Highsmith tested recipes.

Kusanya will offer a rare opportunity – sit-down dining and coffee in Englewood.

"We'll be the only place where you can get something on a porcelain plate and a metal fork for the area," Kusanya Café's Executive Director Phil Sipka explains.

It's been four years in the making; a journey filled with financial obstacles.

When the economy crashed, Sipka and others, unable to secure financing were forced to raise money, through Kick Starter and private donations.

"Churches, residents, even people outside the community have donated because they wanted to see this happen," Sipka says.

There's a list of people who made this project possible. Each person named on this wall either donated time, energy or money to Kusanya Cafe. But this goes beyond business or coffee. The goal is to connect generations of people.

"There's not that many places right now where you can have an 83-year-old and a 7-year-old and both feel comfortable in the same space and enjoy it," Spika tells FOX 32.

While we were there, Siptka was interviewing applicants. He's hoping to fill three more positions in the coming days. Details are on its Facebook page.

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