Grand Rapids, MI – It was a year ago that Mayan Buzz Cafe opened its doors and co-owner Marco Medina said he expects continued growth in being able to offer young people in the area with a place to hang out as well as to offer a great employment opportunity for baristas.
Mayan Buzz Cafe, located at 208 Grandville Ave., is known for a variety of unique events often from suggestions made by their patrons. “Mayan Buzz Cafe is not just a coffee shop,” said Medina, “It’s a place of relaxation and socialization. It’s like your own living room away from home.”
Originally from Honduras, Marco Medina of Grand Rapids, or “Marco” as most patrons call him, is the ever-present face of Mayan Buzz Cafe. Medina is co-owner with Mary Rose of Grand Rapids and Shannon Nielsen of Byron Center.
Mayan Buzz Cafe is hosting the work of three ArtPrize 2014 artists. I AM HUMAN (full spectrum) features several works by artist Yoyoe aka Josephine Bradley Scott who is a multidisciplinary Australian artist with a playful style spanning the realms of body art, illustration, performance art and spoken word. The exhibit is sponsored by The Michigan Eating Disorders Alliance. Mayan Buzz Cafe will host an event October 12th with Yoyoe in attendance to talk about her inspiration for the I AM HUMAN (full spectrum) project and the stories behind the models in the works.
M. Lisa Opted is a work prominently displayed at Mayan Buzz Cafe by Artist Stuart Knickerbocker from Lansing Michigan. Alongside it is Fractional a 2-D graphite work by local Artist Paula Reed of Wyoming, MI.
Business Manager Mary Rose, Grand Rapids, said, “Respect and kindness with others is very important to us. I’m happy we have ArtPrize here with the I AM HUMAN exhibit because respect and kindness is what being human is all about.”
All kinds of people come to the Mayan Buzz Cafe, including people who work downtown, students from Grand Valley, and people who stop by after an event in the area. Mayan Buzz Cafe is located between The Intersection and Founder’s Brewing Co. Mayan Buzz is also the hang out place of few night owls, including students and artists who enjoy the late night hours of the cafe’s 24/7 schedule to work on their projects. Freelance Illustrator Anthony Carpenter of Grand Rapids is one of the ‘regulars’ who is currently painting a mural in one of the restrooms at Mayan Buzz.
In addition to being a safe place to hang out, and maybe even sober up a bit after a night on the town, Mayan Buzz Cafe is a great place to work, play or study. And speaking of play, Mayan Buzz Cafe has Nintendo on one of two big screen TVs, as well as a variety of board games. And of course, there’s free WiFi for customers.
Medina encourages patrons to make Mayan Buzz Cafe their neighborhood coffee house, allowing people to move the furniture (provided by Custer Office Furniture) and to suggest event ideas. Custer, located right across the street, allows Mayan Buzz customers to use their parking lot for free after hours as long as there is not an event using the parking lot in the evening. Mayan Buzz is conveniently within walking distance of The Rapid Central Station.
Since opening, Mayan Buzz Cafe has offered fair trade organic coffees from Panama, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Honduras which are locally roasted by Grand Rapids Coffee Roasters.
“One of the things that sets Mayan Buzz Cafe apart is that we offer an authentic Mayan menu including tamales, pupusas, pulled pork and Arroz con gandules each served on different days of the week,” said Medina. Vegetarian baleadas are offered 24/7 at the Mayan Buzz Cafe, as are sandwiches which include the Denver breakfast omelet, chicken salad, club, ham & cojack, and turkey & provolone. GR Bagel provides fresh bagels, scones and croissants daily at Mayan Buzz Cafe.
Mayan Buzz also offers fair trade Zhena Teas, chai, lattes, frozen drinks and a variety of soft drinks imported from Central America. The Mayan Buzz Cappuccino and the Mayan Mocha are their spicy signature coffees. The Creme Brulatte and Sea Salt Caramel Mocha are also favorite signature hot drinks.
Throughout the year, the staff and owners have experienced an ongoing learning process. “It’s constant. In order to be successful, you have to adjust to the environment,” said Medina.
Rose agrees that it has been a learning experience for everyone. “We have allowed ourselves to let the coffee shop evolve along the process of getting it set up,” said Rose. “We made the space and provide the best quality products, but it is a place where the customers put their heart into it. They are creating what this wants to be along with us.”
Except for Independence Day, Labor Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, Mayan Buzz Cafe is open 24/7. “It is good for our baristas to have a break. They really are essential to our success.”
Medina is looking forward to the completion of the Amtrak station nearby and the soon to be open Tin Can Bar next door. “We’re planning on working with Tin Can Bar and seeing how together along with Founder’s and The Intersection we can add to the continued development and improvement of the area,” said Medina.
Mayan Buzz Cafe plans on celebrating its one year anniversary this Saturday afternoon. Medina said, “Our celebration will start at 3 pm and everyone who has been a part of our success from the beginning as well as anyone who just wants to check us out are invited.”