We made only brief mention of the party in this week’s CHS food + drink notes — but an 8-year Capitol Hill birthday deserves a little more attention. Especially when you’re talking about making it as a simple cafe in a neighborhood undergoing rapid change.
Part of Faizel Khan’s success at Cafe Argento, he says, has been to integrate into the 12th Ave community around his shop. “FInd a non-profit and do everything you can to work with them,” Khan said, doling out advice between serving morning customers. At Argento, Khan has closely aligned himself with the Cornish dance program and the dancers that utilize nearby Velocity Dance for training. You’ll find dancers in line — and behind the counter working as baristas as they train toward stardom, etc. This staffing strategy, in CHS’s humble opinion, is not a bad marketing ploy.
It’s also the kind of relationship Khan says is necessary for a coffee shop to survive. That, and owning your own space doesn’t hurt.
Khan said that Cafe Argento also happens to be a happy accident of the “condo flipping” bubble of the mid 2000s as investors pored through Capitol Hill looking for apartments to turn into condominium projects. The investor who bought the building where Khan was leasing space for Argento made him an offer to stay in the Onyx project he couldn’t refuse. Now Khan looks forward to the day when he has paid off the property in full and can move out from behind the counter as the landlord for some future version of the cafe.
For now, however, he’s happy to face the (week)daily grind of running the place — and actually working behind its counter. “I stay in my cage most of the time,” Khan said referring to the small kitchen space where he pulls lattes and prepares samosas for the oven. “Early in the morning, it’s just me and 12th Ave and the joggers and the druggies.”
You — and 12th Ave, the joggers and the druggies — can celebrate along with Khan as he offers 15% off any item through April. Here’s his announcement on the anniversary. You can learn more at facebook.com/cafeargento12thave.
Coffee. Conversation. Community Service. This is the ethos of Café Argento. When owner Faizel Khan opened Café Argento in April of 2004, his goal was heartfelt: Create a space that is welcoming, comfortable, and safe. In other words – all are welcome at Café Argento. This month, Faizel will celebrate 8 years of business in the Seattle neighborhood of Capitol Hill. As the old saying goes, “Time flies when you’re having fun.”
“A lot of our success could be attributed to my focus on creating a space where individuals and nonprofit groups are welcome,” said Faizel, who is always on site preparing every menu item from scratch to ensure freshness while saving on labor. “Café Argento is a part of Capitol Hill. We are he oldest independent coffee house on 12th Ave.”
Over the last 8 years Café Argento has shared thousands of dollars and services with Richard Hugo House, Dance Art Group, Rose Hedge/MultiFaith, Lifelong AIDS Alliance, Trikone Northwest, and Velocity Dance – to name a few.
At Café Argento customers are treated to an upscale café experience with affordable pricing. Faizel runs a tight ship. Samosas and lunch pies are made daily and if all you need is a quick bite, a savory variety sandwich takes just a few minutes to prepare. Lunch items range from $3.75 – $6.25. Some of the perks at Café Argento include no charge for soy, speedy WiFi, recession proof prices, a relaxing space and generous staff.
Café Argento will celebrate 8 years of business during the whole month of April. What that means for its customers is a 15% discount – all month! Just stop by and say, “Happy Birthday” and let Argento spoil you while making your pocket book happy. Enjoy the discount on Café Vita Coffee, homemade Chai, fresh jumbo samosas (vegan), homemade soup and bread (vegan), vegetable deep dish pizza, turkey or vegan sandwiches, homemade baked Reese’s chocolate chip cookies, and much more.
“I wouldn’t be here without the support and partnerships of the community and neighborhood my shop helps to support,” said Faizel. “Call it karma or goodwill, but every shop owner needs to give back, no matter how much or how little. Stop by and celebrate our anniversary with us. And THANK YOU for your support.”