Stefan Hawkins hopes his new cafe in Harrisburg will expose the community to not only great coffee, but inspiring black literature as well.
Good Brotha’s Book Café open Jan 18 at 1419 N. Third St. in the downtown area of town with books, coffee and baked goods. It was the first black-owned cafe and bookstore in Harrisburg.
“I wanted to show that portrayal matters because a lot of times our kids don’t see themselves in books, they don’t see themselves reflected in movies,” Hawkins said. “So I wanted a space where children could come and see books that look like them.”
The cafe is an extension of the Good Brotha’s Book Club created by Hawkins and friends, primarily for young African American men in the community.
“Statistics show that a lot of black men don’t read. Well, we want to push that back and show that at least the black men in Harrisburg are reading, ”he said.
The store’s shelves are stocked with a variety of books by black authors, ranging from “Training for Triumph” to “Parable of the Brown Girl” and “The Coldest Winter Ever”. Hawkins said he hoped to promote the importance of literacy and education and eventually help the Harrisburg School District start book clubs.
The co-owner of Harrisburg Vegan House opened the cafe of the former Dalicia bakery, which moved to Mechanicsburg. Good Brotha’s is located opposite House of Vegans.
“It’s a great place to come and it’s a great place to meet a lot of people,” Hawkins said. “Have a good cup of coffee, a pastry, a good book and hang out with us.”
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For the coffee, Hawkins reached out to a California roaster to score Fifth Acres Coffee Co., selling a variety of roasts and flavors. The name of the company borrows from the neighborhood where Hawkins grew up at North Fifth Street and Hall Manor in Harrisburg, known as South Acres.
Coffees range from ‘The Hill’, a medium dark roast, to ‘Midtown Midnight’, a medium breakfast blend, and ‘Stella’s Groove’, a dark roast.
The coffee is sold by the cup, but within a week or so it will also be available at the store to buy by the pound to go. (It can also be ordered outside Fifth Acres website.)
Cece’s pastry shop provides baked goods including brownies, muffins, cookies and cheesecake. In the near future, Hawkins said the cafe will offer a more extensive breakfast and lunch menu with items like sandwiches.
“I’m fine-tuning the lunch menu to a certain standard because I’m a vegan and own House of Vegan. I want to respond to veganism and a lot of those meat eaters, ”Hawkins said.
The café is open from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday to Friday and from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday. It is closed on Sunday. The phone is 717-710-3690.