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Kaffé Karma will be located at 342 Barley Mill Plaza in Wilmington, Delaware, according to founder Katie Kutler. Kutler told What Now Philly she’s aiming for an October opening – construction and other delays notwithstanding.
What Now Philly had the privilege of being the first to talk with the new business owner about her bold venture. Graciously, Kutler gave us the full run-down on Kaffé Karma’s deliberate direction, what’s in a name, and which toast she’s most stoked on:
WNP: Is there a story behind the establishment’s mysterious moniker?
Katie: The word “karma” means action. During the pandemic, I was a full-time nutritionist, and I found myself losing a lot of clients during the timeframe when just about everyone was unsure about their job stability. Prior to my becoming a nutritionist, I worked for lululemon, and we used to do these vision and goal boards that included our one-year, five-year, and ten-year goals. I accomplished my five-year goals of becoming a yoga instructor and nutritionist, but the ten-year goal of opening a cafe and yoga studio seemed unreachable.
So, one day during the pandemic as my business was suffering and life felt extra fleeting, I came home from the grocery store, dropped the groceries on the floor, and looked at my fiancé, like, “Can we go on a walk? No phones, no dogs, just a walk so we can talk.” He was like, “Are you okay? Are we okay?”
That walk turned into a two-hour saga where I decided I wanted to go after my ten-year goal and get myself into the coffee space. My fiancé was super supportive. From there, I just went for it and started working at local coffee shops. I took action, all in good faith, to make this dream happen. I wasn’t making a lot of money, I wasn’t really getting any good kickbacks, and I hated my schedule, but the ripple effect that happened from that action — the karma that happened — is far more than I could have imagined.
WNP: What does your slogan “your third place” mean?
Katie: Honestly, at one point, I was talking to someone about the kaffé, and I said, “I envision the space as everyone’s third place.” And it’s true. It’s not work, it’s not home, but it’s your home away from home — that place of familiarity, community, connection…your third place.
WNP: Karma’s website says you’ll be serving up coffee, teas, smoothies, and toasts. Are there menu specifics you can share with us?
Katie: I am so excited about our burrata prosciutto hot honey toast.
WNP: Did you conceptualize the menu yourself?
Katie: Yes. I’ve always been a really big foodie and I love planning and hosting, so I’ve been sampling all these really popular toast recipes and narrowing down my favorites.
WNP: Where will you source from?
Katie: Smaller businesses and some local spots. We’ll get our coffee from Ceremony Coffee Roasters and our bread will come from Big Sky Bread Co., which is here in Wilmington.
WNP: How will the yoga studio operate?
Katie: We’re going to be operating the kaffé from 6 am to 4 pm, and we’ll shift into a yoga studio in the evening. All the furniture will be pushed aside and we’ll have floor-to-ceiling curtains that promote a meditative space. Our classes will run from 5:30 pm-ish until 8 pm, Monday through Thursday. And then on weekends, we’ll keep the space reserved for wellness workshops and any other add-ons to the calendar.
WNP: Beyond success, what are your hopes for Kaffé Karma?
Katie: My hope is that people really do think of this as their third place. I want people to build a community and relationships here, and create a hub for themselves.