Hundreds of events, dozens of locations, and thousands of followers, all lead us back home...
In June 2011, Liyuw and I hosted a party for more than 100 people in Bushwick, Brooklyn to commemorate the launch of a new project called Bunna Cafe. We both had met a few months earlier, sharing a desire to promote Ethiopian cuisine, coffee, and culture in a way that was unique and creative, yet maintained authenticity. Short on funds but eager to get started, we decided to get going with events and dinners and figure out the details later. So we started building anywhere we could: tables, chairs, fencing, everything we needed to set up a mobile restaurant.
Fast forward two and half years.
Popups, dinner parties, street fairs, fundraisers, music fests, flea markets, hundreds of events, dozens of locations, and thousands of followers, all have lead us back home, three blocks away from where we held our first impromptu party.
Bunna Cafe is going permanent -- in a beautiful, fully-equipped space at 1084 Flushing Avenue in Bushwick. We are laying a foundation to bring Ethiopian cuisine, coffee and culture to North Brooklyn and beyond in an authentic and creative setting that can incubate bigger projects that will create positive change for everyone -- from Addis to NYC. We feel that Ethiopia has much to give to the rest of the world- we aim to change the perception that it is a country in need. Cuisine is an excellent starting point to introduce all of what Ethiopia has to offer.
We are currently raising funds to complete necessary renovations to give the space the ambiance it deserves. Your help at this critical phase in Bunna Cafe's growth will benefit us in ways unimaginable. Our customers have always been one of the best aspects of Bunna Cafe, and we have substantial rewards in place for those that want to be a closer part of our movement.
1084 Flushing Avenue
The space at 1084 Flushing Avenue is already equipped to be a restaurant and bar. We are looking to raise at least $15,000 to do the following:
- Add a second restroom: While this is not required it is important for a busy restaurant to have more than one restroom for its patrons.
- Purchase tables, chairs, and barstools: We need to purchase seating and tables. Luckily, we have people -- carpenters and furniture makers that are helping us get custom Ethiopian-style stools and tables into the space for very affordable rates.
- Refurbish the walls, ceiling, bar top, and storefront: We have plans for an organic feel, with wood, thatch, and greenery.
Build a half-hut, half
stage for the Ethiopian coffee ceremony and for small music gigs: The Coffee
Ceremony is sacred to us, and we want to give it an
appropriate pedestal. We are building a traditional Ethiopian hut frame
around a semi-circle stage to house the ceremony and to host small musical
Additionally, we have a number of projects that need funding over the next year, including:
- Transforming the backyard into a dining and event space
- Creating a child nutrition program for schools in the NYC area using Ethiopian cuisine. Teach a kid to eat healthy when they are young and they will retain it for their entire lives. Do so using Ethiopian cuisine as the medium and they will become more engaged in the world beyond their immediate environment. We are very invested in bringing this healthy, hearty cuisine to schools and to youth through lunch programs, parent-child dinners, and class presentations
- Building a line of packaged Ethiopian foods and products for retail sale
- Developing relationships with Ethiopian coffee farmers to import single origin beans for Bunna Cafe
- Creating a series of retreats aimed to explore the coffee farms and regions from where we source our beans. We plan to launch the first retreat in late 2014 and your contribution could secure a spot on the trip! See our rewards list below.
What are we selling
Ethiopian Vegan Cuisine
Ethiopia has a strong vegan tradition. The Ethiopian Orthodox church requires three months of fasting during the year, and during that time all adherents abstain from meat products. Over the centuries a cuisine has developed to get adherents through the fasting seasons. Bunna Cafe takes this vegan tradition and, thanks to the creativity of chef Kedija Srage, brings it to the forefront as a cuisine that can be enjoyed every day and by carnivores, omnivores, and vegans/vegetarians alike. Traditional dishes placed together on top of a bed of Injera (Ethiopian soudough flatbread) and accompanied by Shai (spiced black tea), Espris (layered pureed juice), or Bunna, our homemade Ethiopian coffee. That's a wholesome, healthy, invigorating meal.
Bunna = CoffeeEthiopia is widely considered the birthplace of coffee, and it's close connection with culture, family, and tradition is like nowhere else in the world. We make coffee from scratch as often as possible. Not only does it produce a robust, flavorful brew, but it saturates the room with the smell of roasting beans, calming the mind and building the appetite. Throughout Ethiopia, the Coffee Ceremony is performed in households as a social gathering, inviting friends, neighbors, and family together to discuss the day and enjoy eachother's company. We perform the coffee ceremony in events around the city, and will feature it regularly at our restaurant. We will also offer multiple varieties of Ethiopian coffee and coffee beverages for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Learn more about the Coffee Ceremony here.
We will have a fully stocked bar with the best of Ethiopian booze, including tej -- Ethiopian honey wine, Ethiopian beers, and specialty Bunna Cafe cocktails.
We have already hosted dozens of musicians at our events. Some are Ethiopian, many are not. We look to intertwine Ethiopian culture with other artistic influences. Sometimes that means we get New Zealand folk band Streets of Laredo at an Ethiopian popup restaurant, or Ethiopian classical pianist Girma Yifrashewa at a Bushwick dinner party. Whatever the combination, it has worked beautifully. Now that we have a space we will continue providing entertainment for our guests. We will also continue to do offsite, curated events and maintain our personality as a popup restaurant even when we're permanent.
We have them -- small and large. Take a look at our tiers on the right. We have dinners and events for those that live in the area and items to send for those that don't. Here are a few of them:
"Everything is Eshi" t-shirt
Everything is Eshi = It's all good. Our slogan for Bunna Cafe. Wear it in style. Men's and women's tees available. Rewarded at contributions of $25 or more.
2 lbs. of Ethiopian Coffee
We will ship to you 4 half-pound bags of Ethiopian roasted coffee in different varieties -- Yirgacheffe, Sidamo, Harar, and Jimma. Or we can substitute one for a half pound of raw beans that you can roast yourself. We are growing our sourcing network for coffee beans. Currently we are getting Sidamo beans from Kellensoo region through the Bushwick Seed Company, and we have sourced Harar beans from Deder region. Over time we will be incorporating single origin from our own coffee farm connections. Rewarded at contributions of $60 or more.
Ethiopian Cooking Starter Pack
Have Bunna Cafe at home! A complete recipe book containing a select number of dishes made by Bunna Cafe, including a tutorial on how to make injera. On top of that, we will provide you with the hard-to-get ingredients: Berbere, shiro, teff flour, straight from the homeland, enough to make a few family meals. A great way to get started on your own Ethiopian cooking experience. Rewarded at contributions of $120 or more
We will have a donor's appreciation gala in the Spring, complete with dinner, drinks, coffee ceremony, and music. A $240 contribution will reserve your space as part of your reward. Contribute $2500 and we'll fly you and a friend to NYC for the event and lodge you for two nights.
Pack Your Bags
Contribute $6000 or more and you're going to Ethiopia. We are planning a Fall/Winter one week retreat at a coffee farm and you get to come with us. Learn how coffee is grown and experience firsthand the culture behind the bean. And explore this beautiful, sophisticated country that has given us so much to enjoy. All expenses paid.
Can't Contribute? No Problem!
We can still use your help spreading the word. Share this project on your social media sites. Tell your friends. A crowdfunding campaign's success is hinged on its exposure. Spending 15 minutes getting the word out is a generous contribution in itself.
For us, this has become much more than a restaurant venture. During the past two years, Bunna Cafe has become a way of life. We have put all our creative energy into this project because we see it as something that is alive, something that has a personality and as , something that can grow and create positive change in our environment and in the world. We have grown from an unfunded idea to a fully equipped restaurant, a crew of thousands of supporters and some funding. We are thrilled with how far we have come, but we are also focused on taking continuing to grow and expand as a restaurant and as a part of our community. Your participation in our dream will help us get to the next level and makes our dedication worthwhile. You will always be part of our crew, and you will always be welcome at our space -- that's not just courtesy, that's a way of life.
Sam Saverance | Liyuw Ayalew