During the pandemic, drinking coffee meant a quick drive-through trip so you could get caffeinated in your car and get back to the grind.
Café Conmigo owner Derek Davies is taking a different approach; he wants you to sit down, relax and awaken your senses. If you happen to be there on a Monday evening, by all means, stay for yoga and meditation.
“I love the community atmosphere of coffee shops,” Davies says. “I wanted to create a warm, welcoming space.”
Located in Wexford at 10 North Meadow Dr. across the street from Whole Foods, the coffee shop is a lush oasis amidst the surrounding suburban sprawl. Even on cloudy days, the large windows bathe the café in light.
Plants, many of which are for sale, fill the 2,100-square-foot space, creating natural barriers between the café’s different sections. Some customers sit at small tables to work on their laptops. Others occupy a long table for meetings. More intimate areas are furnished with couches and funky chairs.
Davies, a 27-year-old entrepreneur, grew up in Franklin Park but has traveled extensively through Europe and South America, where there’s almost a cafe on every street corner. Those places aren’t grab-and-go spots, but social and cultural hubs where folks spend entire days sipping coffee and tea, listening to live music and enjoying the company of others. Covid didn’t kill that vibe, it just put it on hold.
Although local neighborhoods such as Lawrenceville boast similar community spaces, Davies wanted to re-create that laid-back aesthetic in Wexford. Eventually, he’d like to bring Café Conmigos to other suburban regions of Pittsburgh.
The North Hills location, a former Painting with a Twist studio, opened in January. Davies, who’s worked in the hospitality industry for years, received help and advice from TJ Fairchild of Commonplace Coffee, a Pittsburgh-based roaster that provides beans to Conmigo. The two talk on the phone nearly every day.
Café Conmigo sells many other local products from Baked True North, Mediterra Bakehouse, Pure Grub 412, Leona’s Ice Cream, Maple Street Jam Co., Tupelo Honey Teas, Steel City Salt Co., Three Rivers Salsa, Pittsburgh Juice Co. and Best Ever Granola.
In addition to plants, you can pick up artisan gifts produced by small, woman-owned businesses, including soap from Up in Suds, small-batch oils and vinegars from Olive & Marlowe and cutting boards from Mars Design Studio (which also provided the wooden map of the world that hangs on the café’s wall). Mobile boutiques will be popping up at the café every Saturday through the end of July.
As pandemic restrictions are lifted and people feel more comfortable being together in public, Davies plans to host concerts, writing workshops, poetry slams, book club meetings, charity events and coffee tutorials.
“I want to be as socially and environmentally responsible as possible,” Davies says. “Education is important. I want people to know what they’re consuming and what went into growing that coffee bean.”
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