Express Yourself Barista Bar: Espresso and Activism Instead of Funeral Home

Photo by Lucia Reed

Spunky soul and a wide selection of tasty pastries– that’s Express Yourself Barista Bar, a new cafe on Central Ave in Bushwick. It’s only been open for three months, but it’s already become a popular place amongst the neighbors. And for good reason! They’re keeping things local, with coffee from Brooklyn Roasting Company and food from Dough, Margo’s Pastries, and Bagelsmith. Additionally, new coffee shop plays an important role as a meeting spot of local activist groups.

Towers of pastries… Yum!

Express Yourself Barista

The café is owned and operated by Izzy Diaz, a Bushwick native, and his family, all of whom were born and raised in Bushwick. Izzy is in charge of the day-to-day operations at the espresso bar, and nephews Angel Diaz and Juan Morales work as baristas in the shop, making it a true family affair. Izzy’s brothers Ronnie and William led the way in terms of the café’s design, and the whole family provided input.

Express Yourself Barista is a family endeavor. Izzy Diaz, a Bushwick local is the owner.

Izzy Diaz of EYBB Photo By Lucia Reed

Express Yourself Barista Bar presents a clean atmosphere that is noticeable from the moment you walk in. The counter is made from recycled wood. There are three large tables inside that offer a communal space for patrons to share. “People look for a homey feel when they go to cafés, and they can find that here,” says Izzy.

Original window and floor panels. You would never believe that the space was a funeral home before…

Original window and floor panels Photo By Lucia Reed

The space was a funeral home in the past, and some of the old interior remains. The front windows carry a cathedral vibe, leftover from the old space. Some floor panels from the funeral home line the doorframe of the entrance.

Delightfully, local art hangs on the exposed brick walls. Indeed, Izzy and his family are more than happy to support the local artists, as well as the community as a whole. There are plans to have comedy shows, poetry readings and pop-up markets in the café. “We have this all this space and we’re opening it up for locals to use,” Izzy says.

Express Yourself Barista Bar is a welcome addition to the neighborhood. Once you step through the door, you’ll feel like family.

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