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'Vulnerable' café makes a stand in a tough part of town

Article by Pulitzer-prize winning journalist Mary Schmich.  Excerpt: When Phil Sipka and some of his Englewood neighbors opened a cafe a year ago this week, skeptics had suggestions.  How about rolling security gates over the wall-size windows? Or a permanently locked door, with a buzzer to buzz customers in? Maybe a nighttime security guard.  Sipka and his neighbors had a different idea.

A coffeehouse for Englewood

Article and photography by Stephanie Barto.  Excerpt: Kusanya Café opened last month to a flurry of press intrigued that someone would launch such aventure in Englewood...

Four years passed between the initial idea of opening Kusanya Cafe and its debut on November 19, 2013. Those years were fraught with multiple instances of absentee commercial property owners backing out of lease negotiations, and banks refusing to lend money for the venture. Kusanya’s eventual success relied heavily upon Kickstarter funding and the rallying of resources within the neighborhood..

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Englewood comeback proves ingenuity is homegrown

Article by Rebekah Frumkin.  “There’s about 60,000 people here, yet most of the stories you hear are about 200 of them,” Harbin says. “Those 59,800 are doing some remarkable things, but we only hear about the 200 that are not.”

...Also working to strengthen the community is Kusanya Cafe on West 69th Street, a non-profit coffee house that doubles as a performance space for local artists.