Photos by Sam Fleming
Blending coffee and cultural treats with engaging local art, this new Filipino-owned café — just steps from Hawthorne Train Station — is bound to fuel the morning commute.
Filled with a caring and eager spirit, Likha Art Cafe provides customers the chance to explore their creative side and Filipino culture while enjoying coffee and traditional cuisine. For a fresh cuppa, the menu offers a selection of highly drinkable coffee blends in addition to turmeric, chai, matcha, or ube lattes. Beans are sourced from Abbotsford Road in Brooklyn, an environmentally conscious roaster that lends support to budding coffee businesses.
As fall enters full swing, sweet and seasonal items include pumpkin spice drinks and pastries, a variety of mouthwatering flavors of pandesal (traditional Filipino breakfast rolls), and a truly special ube affogato. (You’re welcome.)
But a flavorful cup or an authentic treat is just an added bonus to the energy on offer at Likha. A rotating art gallery displaying the works of local artists allows customers to tour the space (cup in hand), taking a closer look at the magical creations flowing through the cafe. Cards, tote bags, and prints are on sale for those who fall in love with the current roster’s art style.
The cozy, inviting space was founded by two couples originally from Batangas in the Philippines: Aileen and Ruel Jusi and Emma Songalia and Eddie Manongsong. Each member of the team offers a unique perspective that breathes life and innovation into Likha seven days a week. Songalia, who primarily helps customers, collaborates closely with the chef to update and refine recipes to keep things fresh and meet the cafe’s latest demands. “[The chef] is very flexible and open-minded when we find new recipes together; he makes the new product and presents it to us until we perfect it,” she explains.
Overseeing the gallery is Erwin Ong, a Filipino-American artist, illustrator, and muralist based in White Plains. “We want Likha to be a welcoming, community-focused gathering place and hope to give local artists a chance to express their creativity,” he emphasizes, adding that he’s open to receiving submissions from the public. (Hint, hint, looking at you in that paint-covered smock.)
The Likha team also tries to engage the community by hosting events, like Monday evening line dancing classes, a “Filipino favorite festivity.” The goal is to expand into weekly art activities, from exhibits to paint and sips and more, all in the hopes of having an atmosphere bursting with life, excitement, and community.
Likha Art Cafe
363 Elwood Ave, Unit F, Hawthorne; 315.936.3324