Convivo Cafe opens in the West Highlands neighborhood of Denver

Convivio Café opened on 38th Avenue in northwest Denver and hopes to bring Guatemalan culture to the neighborhood.

DENVER — Vivi Lemus and Kristin Lacy met through a nonprofit in southwest Denver.

Lacy, who had spent several years in Guatemala, recognized Vivi’s accent.

“And we just started talking about food and hospitality in Guatemala,” recalls Lacy.

A friendship was literally forged – around their idea of ​​one day opening a bilingual café.

“I really loved the idea of ​​how cafes can bring people together,” Lacy said. “And then I spent time in Central America and worked with farmers and learned more about the coffee supply chain. So I really started thinking like, ‘man, this would be cool to do a bilingual coffee.'”

Together, the two joined to form Convivio Café on 38th Avenue between the West Highlands and Berkeley neighborhoods.

“We want to see the roots of the community grow,” said Vivi Lemus.

Tuesday morning started with a rush for the couple and another barista behind the counter as they decided to open the cafe on Dia De Todos Los Santos.

For Lemus, the business comes from its roots.

“It’s All Saints’ Day, which is our Day of the Dead celebration,” she explained.

Lemus came to Colorado from her home country of Guatemala 20 years ago, inspiring everything from the way the menu reads to the display of huipiles on the walls inside. The traditionally worn and woven blouses are central to Guatemalan culture and history.

The couple believe the part of the neighborhood where Convivio now stands is the perfect fit to help immerse the neighborhood in its cultural roots.

“The more we learn about the community and the story behind it, the more we want to be that good neighbor, you know, that thrives and celebrates both, you know, young and old roots in the neighborhood,” Lemus said. .

The concept first started after seeing their own cafe under the name Convivio.

The coffee, the two explained, is shade-grown on farms in Guatemala. Both said they have growers and farmers they work with directly.

The menu is presented in Spanish and English and extends beyond the usual cafe food. It offers other Latin American dishes including tostadas, alfajores and more.

For Lemus, she hopes the coffee also acts as a sign of representation for Hispanic business owners.

“I think I feel like representation really matters and I feel like the beauty of our concept of togetherness and bringing two cultures together is something we want to convey to communities,” he said. she declared.

Lakewood-based non-profit organization Friendship Bridge has partnered with the cafe to organize the exhibit, where customers can purchase a huipil through the end of November.

The huipiles were woven by Guatemalan women.

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