The timing for opening poses some challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Fender said, but in some ways “it’s been a blessing in disguise,” providing an opportunity to rethink what a place like Portrait can provide for the West End community and beyond.
Fender said he and his partners, who all live in the neighborhood, never considered any other area in which to plant their business roots.
“My wife grew up in the West End, and I got to learn the history through her,” he said. “We only wanted to be in this neighborhood. There’s such a history of Black excellence here.”
The business is already offering its coffee to the public via sales on its website, as well as Portrait merch including “Pouring a New Narrative” shirts and totes. Also available is a coffee delivery club, with weekly, biweekly and monthly deliveries of 12 oz. bags of Portrait-roasted coffee.
The cafe, which will be on the top floor of the building with the roastery in the basement, will likely start out offering patio and to-go service only, eventually allowing customers to drink inside the 35-seat space. Drink options will include traditional coffee drinks and teas. as well as specialty beverages including the Aunt Viv, a brown sugar and cardamom latte. The drink was served during a Portrait pop-up at Old Fourth Ward coffee shop Chrome Yellow that raised money for Peace Preparatory Academy.
Also expect to see light bites for breakfast and lunch including breakfast sandwiches, paninis and toasts.
Ultimately, Fender said, a big goal of the business is to help bring continued positive attention to the West End.
“We want to continue the legacy, and shine a light on the incredible things happening in the community.”
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