There's a new source of East Side pride in St. Paul: Roots Cafe, a youth-led coffee shop inside the Indigenous Roots Cultural Arts Center.
The cafe, which celebrated its grand opening last month, is a partnership between the International Indigenous Youth Council-Twin Cities Chapter and Indigenous Roots, a St. Paul-based organization centered on promoting holistic well being through Indigenous arts, traditions and culture.
Reyna Day, the cafe's manager, said the youth at Roots Cafe have been focused on the experience and environment they're creating for the community, rather than just handing out coffee.
"Having them create the cafe from the ground up was really intentional for us," she said.
The cafe serves staples, such as drip coffee, decaf pour over and cold brew, in addition to speciality drinks developed by the team.
The popular Cafe de Olla is coffee infused with piloncillo (unrefined cane sugar), cinnamon and nutmeg.
Speciality teas include the Sweet Mama Tea (peppermint, lemon balm and motherwort, served hot or cold) and the Rosy Cheeks Tea, which blends rose leaves, stinging nettles and burdock root.
All coffee is sourced from Spirit Mountain Roasting Co., a Native American-owned coffee company in Yuma, Arizona.
Through the month of August, Roots Cafe is open Tuesday-Thursday from 7 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. The cafe will be open Monday-Friday beginning after Labor Day weekend.
Day, who grew up on the East Side, said they're hoping to begin offering youth hours in the evening this fall to provide a place for local kids and teens to do homework or hangout with friends.
"We've been really grateful that our community always continues to support us," Day said.