“We love to make coffee for the city that loves to drink it.” That quote is the first thing you see when you walk up to Unity Café, and it is a quote that their whole team believes in. Unity Café is a unique café and eatery that serves delicious American and Bulgarian items. The owner, Petia Johnson, has a 7-year background in coffee and was looking for a new opportunity when she united with three baristas Dakota Full, Eric Snuffer, and ReNae Phillips. Unity Café is a barista operated café; what this means is that the baristas all work together to run the café instead of having a manager over them. The incentive behind this type of operation is that everyone gets a percent of the yearly earnings. Petia stressed that Unity Café is a co-op business because she recognizes that everyone has their own gift, and often times someone’s gift is not used to its full potential. She referred to the baristas as “members” saying that they all have their own voice and input in the café. Having heard about their philosophy and the way they operate, it was easy to see why they settled on the name Unity Café.
Suspended coffee is another aspect of Unity Café that makes it unique; all of the baristas were eager to talk about it. They explained it like this- a customer buys coffee, the customer chooses to pay for another cup of coffee for an anonymous person, the barista writes down that a cup has been paid for, and then, at the baristas discretion, someone gets a free cup of coffee. They will give the free cups to the mail carriers, delivery workers, someone in need, or to anyone it sees fit. The concept behind suspended coffee is to reach into the community and be friendly explained Dakota Fuller.
Unity Café wants to be very community based. The baristas hope for café to become a space for young adults to study, read, and socialize. One of the reasons they choose their location on Seventh Street in downtown Parkersburg is that everyone saw the potential in the area and agreed that it needed new life brought to it. Petia Johnson explained that she believes coffee houses add culture to the areas that surround them, and the more coffee the more culture.
As far as their menu goes, they have something for everyone! They have traditional drinks such as mochas and lattes, but they also have Bulgarian jezve and meal replacement smoothies (with 20 grams of protein). In the coming weeks, Unity Café will begin to serve nitro coffee; Dakota Full explained that nitro coffee is a creamy iced-coffee that many cafes do not offer. Their loose leaf tea is another stand-out item on their menu (stay tuned because they are planning to have tea tastings where you can try out the richly flavored loose leaf tea). In addition to the large drink menu, from 11am until 2pm chef Scott Clark prepares a variety of made-to-order sweet and savory crepes, and there are freshly baked goods to choose from as well.
Unity Café seems to have a bright and successful future ahead of them. It is evident as soon as you walk in the door and see the smiling faces and hear the cheerful greetings from all of the staff, that at Unity Café they really do love to make coffee for the city that loves to drink it!