And to celebrate the grand opening of the café at 2016 Wilson Blvd, RĀKO will offer $1 coffees from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, with specially-priced natural wines available all day Saturday until 9 p.m.
The roasting company, founded by sisters Melissa and Lisa Gerben in late 2019, sources and roasts sustainably farmed, single-origin coffee. They planned to open a café last year, but the pandemic delayed that, and they launched an online store and a D.C. pop up location instead.
Now, the Gerbens have a space, in the former location of The Olive Oil Boom, to sell fresh roasted coffee from around the world, espresso drinks, food, cocktails and natural wines.
“Through its thoughtful offerings like the signature baklava latte made with cinnamon, cardamom, and clove infused honey syrup, RĀKO aims to make specialty coffee approachable,” according to a press release.
The company and shop are named for a mountain in Ethiopia called Rako, which translates to “challenge.”
“The brand’s name underscores its mission to create elevated and exceptional coffees while giving back to the communities it touches, both locally and globally,” the release said.
Weekday happy hours will start at 4 p.m. The drinks menu will center natural wines, a collective term for wines that eschew the chemicals, additives and extra processes found in many commercial wines, from cultivation to harvest to production.
“Much like its coffee program, the natural wine program is both approachable and dynamic, with the opening menu aptly named Summer Crush, boasting a curated selection of refreshing summer wines by women winemakers,” the release said.
Coffee will seep into the cocktail menu, from an espresso martini to a Negroni made with coffee-infused Campari.
To eat, RĀKO will offer seasonal foods, such as cucumber gazpacho and strawberry and manchego salad, meze and cheese boards. It will also serve “pocket foods” such as salteñas, empanadas and sambussas, a nod to the coffee-growing regions of Bolivia, Colombia and Ethiopia, respectively. Breakfast and baked goods will come from local bakeries.
All this will be in a trendy space that can accommodate 55 people and double as a private event space. RĀKO will be decorated with local art, textiles from Guatemala and vibrant paintings of Ethiopian flora.
“Lush and comfortable, the café is designed to be a space where guests can recharge and connect over a specialty coffee or a glass of biodynamic wine,” the release said.
The sisters aim to host a variety of events at the space, including wine tastings and latte art classes.
RĀKO regular hours are Monday through Thursday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
(On Monday, RĀKO updated its regular hours of operation.)
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