Walking into Downtown’s newest coffee shop feels like a glimpse into the future of Main Street. Scents of lavender-infused lattes mingle with chorizo Brussels sprouts and mango-caprese arepas. An eclectic electro-jazz tune pours out of the speakers, and there’s chatter on the patio. There’s an actual patio.
It’s the real-city vibe that many of us hoped would develop on Main Street, the feel that Makers & Finders owners Valeria Varela, 25, and Josh Molina, 26, set out to achieve.
Varela and Molina had been working on their dream restaurant since 2011, but the original idea for a café specializing in arepas and empanadas fizzled due to a lack of funding. After backpacking through South America and staying on two Colombian and Peruvian coffee farms in 2013, the duo returned with a clearer, streamlined vision: a focus on coffee—each cup brewed fresh to order—and a few Latin comfort foods inspired by Molina’s heritage.
The goal is simple: get people talking and eating. “We really think the true Downtown is actually happening here,” Molina says. “We picture Main Street completely different in five years. We wanted to be at the forefront of this whole transformation.”
When I visit, the buzzing crowd eventually thins out, but a handful of customers sticks around long after closing. It’s that kind of place.
The coffee bar boasts a flavorful, bold menu with Cuban cortaditos (espresso and condensed milk), Mexican spice lattes and free-trade, organic Bolivian, Peruvian, Colombian and Honduran coffees. For the less-discerning java drinker, there are sweeter offerings like white mocha and Nutella lattes. Early birds can pair a coffee with a croissant sandwich of scrambled eggs, cheddar and maple bacon ($7.50).
At the top of the menu is a disclaimer: “All coffee and espresso is ground, brewed and made to order. Please allow 3-5 minutes for order, depending on method.” But don’t let that discourage you. Whether you want your cup brewed traditionally or in a French press, there’s plenty to nosh on while you wait and even more to keep you coming back, like Latin hash with pulled beef and potatoes ($9) or empanadas ($6) filled with mushrooms, kale and spicy salsa.
“It’s like a cocktail bar, but with coffee,” says Molina, who previously worked at Herbs and Rye (Varela worked at the Cosmopolitan’s Vesper Bar). “I was looking at the cocktail culture in Las Vegas and how it exploded, and now [you] wait 15 minutes for your cocktail, no big deal. What says that people won’t get used to waiting for coffee?”
Makers & Finders Coffee 1120 S. Main St. #110, 702-586-8255. Monday-Saturday, 7 a.m.-4 p.m.