Finca to Filter’s counter in the West End closes abruptly

Kayla Bellman poses at her coffee stand Finca to Filter inside Wild Heaven West End Brewery on July 27, 2023. (Jenni Girtman for The Atlanta Journal Constitution)

Credit: Jenni Girtman

Credit: Jenni Girtman

Kayla Bellman poses at her coffee stand Finca to Filter inside Wild Heaven West End Brewery on July 27, 2023. (Jenni Girtman for The Atlanta Journal Constitution)

Coffee company Finca to Filter closed its coffee counter inside Wild Heaven Brewery in the West End on May 28.

The closure is due to updated permitting requirements from the Fulton County Health Department. According to owner Kayla Bellman, those requirements made it “impossible to continue” at that location. Bellman also told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution she alerted her staff as soon as she learned she would be closing the counter at 1010 White St.

A representative from the Fulton County Board of Health provided details of the situation in a prepared statement. “The Environmental Health Services unit within the Fulton County Board of Health (FCBOH) is working with the ownership of both establishments to resolve permitting paperwork and regulatory issues regarding the presence of multiple food establishments under the same roof. As that process continues, ownership has been asked to make physical improvements to equipment and procedures to comply with our guidelines. The goal is to maximize accountability to customers and to ensure public safety. The facility can possibly reopen once these changes are made.”

Bellman said she is not planning to reopen the counter at Wild Heaven because the cost of the FCBOH’s required changes are “just not feasible for a small business like ours to do at the drop of a dime.”

Bellman opened the Finca to Filter outpost at Wild Heaven West End in 2021. The shop became known for its motto, “queer and caffeinated,” and its emphasis on creating a welcoming space. Last September, Finca to Filter expanded with a solo brick-and-mortar location at 652 Angier Ave., in the Old Fourth Ward. That location will remain open, and Bellman is moving head with plans to open another cafe this year in the Boulevard Heights neighborhood, which will include a frozen dessert stand and an adjacent wine bar.

After Bellman announced the abrupt closure at Wild Heaven, the community rallied around the shop and its staff by starting a GoFundMe for displaced staff members, she said. About half of the employees will transfer to the Old Fourth Ward location.

“I will think of Finca’s time in the West End and that community so very fondly,” Bellman said. “I could tell you who my first customer was and who our last customer was. There (are) such joyful moments in between.”

Bellman has expanded the hours at the Old Fourth Ward location, and she plans to add more menu items, like breakfast sandwiches and afternoon treats, all of which will be made in-house.

About two months ago, Bellman launched a natural wine program at Finca to Filter’s Old Fourth Ward location as a way to introduce her forthcoming wine and cocktail bar, Side Saddle Wine Saloon. Side Saddle will focus on beverages by “BIPOC, queer and women wine and spirit producers,” Bellman said. On May 30, they will host a flight night fundraiser for the West End staff members. Throughout June, the cafe will hold weekly Pride flight nights featuring LGBTQ+ wine producers to allow attendees to “taste the rainbow,” she said.

Bellman said she is on track to open Finca to Filter in Boulevard Heights at 680 Hamilton Ave. in the fall. The space will feature three concepts within two buildings, including an 1,800-square-foot Finca to Filter cafe and frozen dessert concept Banana Stand, and a connecting 800-square-foot building that will house Side Saddle Wine Saloon. Both concepts will have large outdoor patios.

A rendering of the new Finca to Filter coming to Boulevard Heights. / Courtesy of Finca to Filter

Credit: Finca to Filter

icon to expand image

Credit: Finca to Filter

Despite the setback in West End, Bellman said she’s feeling “optimistic” about the next year. And as a final celebration, Finca will host one last Brewhaha Drag Bingo at the West End location with performances by Taylor Alxndr on June 18.

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