Built on Individuality: La Borra Del Cafe’s Berwyn location is first in U.S.

Built on Individuality: La Borra Del Cafe’s Berwyn location is first in U.S.

Inside La Borra Del Cafe, inspirational quotes by famous Latino writers line the walls, each paired with a cozy nook, surrounded by colorful accent chairs and small, decorative tables. They’ve become the perfect backdrop for the newly opened Berwyn-based coffee shop, whose mission is to offer a sanctuary for local creatives to gather.

Among the many mantras, there’s one that stands out. This one hangs overhead, right behind the counter. It’s from the late Mario Benedetti, a Uruguayan journalist, novelist and poet, said owner Jessica Vazquez, pointing to the scribbled words above. It reads, “Five minutes are enough to dream a whole life. That is how relative time is.”

“We always have a phrase about him,” Vazquez said of Benedetti, adding that his work and his persona has guided the shop’s overall look and feel. Turning to the chalkboard near the cashier, Vazquez spoke of a daily coffee special that has become a whimsical way to pay homage to the late Benedetti. Known as a romantic and a charmer, it has been said that Benedetti often met his lover at a cafe between 3:10 and 5:10 p.m., she said, smiling.

Customers can come in during those hours, she said, to cash in on a two-for-one coffee deal.

Looking around her quiet cafe, which sits in the heart of Berwyn’s historic Depot District, Vazquez couldn’t help but use that quote from Benedetti to sum up her recent business venture. At only 23, she is living out her dream and managing the Mexico-based cafe’s first U.S. location.

Near the counter, there’s a kaleidoscope of monarch butterflies, which trail off into a bright conference room. This type of butterfly plays a big role in Mexican traditions. For starters, it marks the beginning of Dia de los Muertos. In Spanish, “these are called ‘mariposas,’ “ Vazquez said, noting they’ve become a symbol for La Borra’s latest move to the U.S.

La Borra Del Cafe was established eight years ago and has grown to include 50 locations across Mexico. Vazquez opened the coffee shop in Berwyn toward the end of 2019, but in February, she officially celebrated La Borra with city officials and members of the Berwyn Development Corp.

Every La Borra is carefully designed to match its customers’ needs. Before anything else takes place, Vazquez said her company’s team tries to understand its audience.

When it came to Berwyn, one of her colleagues learned that people generally liked to sit close to the window, welcoming the light and the views. At La Borra Del Cafe, which is located on Stanley Avenue, Vazquez made sure to have a glossy counter top and a few bar stools facing the train station.

“If there’s a place that only has people that come in to just chill and have coffee, or they come in to work, or they come in to study, we can make a place that can give all those,” she said.

There’s a tall bookcase in the middle of the coffee shop. Customers are encouraged to take the books or donate their own.

“Everything here should inspire you to make something,” Vazquez said. “When you drink your coffee, when the girls tell you ‘good morning,’ you should feel inspired to do something – to work, to study, to read a book, to just watch a movie. That’s our mission.”

Beyond that, La Borra was founded on community. Vazquez said the coffee shop is a shared space and open to everyone. La Borra, as a company, usually teams up with area nonprofits and charity organizations to spread the message of unity.

Baristas Mariah Colon and Mia Olvera believe that La Borra Del Cafe will help bring their neighbors together.

Colon, a resident of Berwyn, and Olvera, who lives in nearby Cicero, shared their excitement as the place has let them express themselves as artists. Even when it comes to the cafe’s play list, Colon, Olvera and their co-workers have the chance to pick and choose songs to set the mood.

“Here at La Borra, everyone’s talking about books, music, art and like expanding yourself,” Colon, 22, said, adding that every day she’s learning something new.

More than that, the pair talked about the importance of representation, especially when it comes to La Borra as a Mexico-based company and the Berwyn branch’s Latina owner.

“To me, it hits home,” Olvera, 18, said. “I’m Mexican, and I started drinking coffee at a very young age. It’s really normal in Mexican culture that you start drinking coffee at a young age. I think it’s important that the [Latino] community is represented in Berwyn.”

Colon added, “I think it’s so important to be respected, you know.”

As Vazquez and her colleagues continue to settle into Berwyn, she said they’ve already set their eyes on another potential location. This time, they’re heading for the city. She doesn’t have all the details yet, but one thing’s for sure. The La Borra Del Cafe brand is built on individuality.

“All of them are different,” she said. “All of them have their own soul.”

If you go

What: La Borra Del Cafe

Where: 6801 Stanley Ave., Berwyn

Hours: 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Fridays, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays, closed Sundays

Info: Find La Borra Del Cafe on Facebook or Instagram.

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