Situated behind an airy, bustling flower shop, Cafe Erzulie’s aqua walls and abundant potted plants bring to mind tropical climates, making it easy to forget the clatter of the JMZ train above the cafe’s Broadway Avenue location.
Cafe Erzulie’s owners were inspired to open the shop after they took a trip to Haiti two years ago. The interior immediately put me at a breezy island ease, which was a welcome distraction from my normal “February in New York” mood.
The owners, Mark Luxama, August Doyle, Justinian Montaperto, Chris Lee and John O’Neal, along with director of operations Shawnti Homenuk are all relatively young first-time business owners. They wanted to bring Haitian culture, food, and drink to Brooklyn in a way that, according to co-owner Justinian Montaperto, inspires patrons with a “direct relationship [to] nature.” The cafe’s name was inspired by the goddess Erzulie, the Haitian spirit of love, beauty, dancing, luxury, and flowers.
It is endlessly charming to me that Cafe Erzulie’s name incorporates the shop’s relationship with the community and the local flower vendor they’ve partnered with to open their business.
“I think the thing we were most conscious of during this process was trying to find a way to become a part of the community without having to take someone else’s place,” says co-owner August Doyle.
“We feel like we were able to do that by opening a new business alongside Rodrigo’s Flowers by Leslie, which has been in the community for 15-plus years. While our space is totally revamped, people are seeing Rodrigo’s familiar face in the window, and a new cafe and bar in back.”
Cafe Erzuile’s menu is still evolving, but right now they’ve got a brilliant selection of breakfast sandwiches, a kale salad with Haitian pickled cabbage, and a spicy PB&J with scotch bonnets. Co-owner Mark Luxama is working with local catering company Harvest & Revel and his grandmother to develop a flavorful, Haitian/New York fusion-style cuisine for the menu.
The cafe’s outdoor space is still a work in progress but will open along with the bar in late March just in time for warmer weather.
Cafe serving Devocion coffee and Haitian-inspired food in back with a flower shop up front.
894 Broadway Ave. (off the Myrtle-Broadway Ave JMZ train)
Follow Cafe Erzulie on Instagram.
Featured image courtesy of Cafe Erzulie’s Instagram.
All other images by Jacque Medina for Bushwick Daily.