We spoke with Afro-Latinx small business owner of Cafe Con Libros, Kalima DeSuze, to discuss her favorite local Brooklyn small businesses for Latinx Heritage Month. Explore Kalima’s go-to spots and recommendations below and in Intentionalist’s Apple Guides.
Kalima DeSuze owns the intersectional feminist community bookstore and coffee shop Cafe con Libros. Through Kalima’s curated selection of books, programming, and great coffee, she aims to create a vibrant community space where everyone feels centered, affirmed, and celebrated. Cafe con Libros is a space explicitly dedicated to the stories of women and girls of all identities where lovers of said stories can come together to build community.
Chefs Hema “The Suya Guy” Agwu and Folusho Adeyemo are bringing the delicious food of the streets of Nigeria to the vibrant streets of Crown Heights with Brooklyn Suya. Each bowl starts with rice topped with your choice of grilled protein, sides, signature house sauces, and your choice of mild, medium, and spicy suya mix or, if you’re brave enough, atomic suya spice. “There are vegan and nonvegan options that are healthy, delicious, and customizable,” says DeSuze.
Ever since Debbie Hardy moved to Brooklyn in 1980s, she’s made it her mission to spread color throughout the borough. In 2014, Debbie opened Martine’s Dream to focus on what moves her and makes her happy. Debbie, who was born in Jamaica, says that as she strays from home, her gatherings of hand done textiles and tribal embroidery add richness and layers to the clothes offered at Martine’s Dream. “The entire vibe of this spot is global yet local, vibrant, and welcoming,” says DeSuze.
Wife-and-husband team Nilea Alexander and Lamine Diagne opened Cafe Rue Dix in 2013 to serve traditional Senegalese cuisine and typical French fare. They pride themselves on using fresh ingredients and bold spices to create some of the best Franco-Senegalese dishes in NYC. As much as the flavors draw in locals and visitors alike, it’s the communal Senegalese spirit that keep customers coming back. “The atmosphere is immersive,” says DeSuze, who loves the “rich and delicious Sengalese food.”
Shelly Marshall and Khalid Hamid started Island Pops because they were desperately missing a taste of their home country, Trinidad. Their mission is to provide Island Pops’ customers with an authentic island experience using tropical ingredients in traditional and innovative ways, always keeping the customer first. Visit Island Pops for a taste of the Caribbean in a cup, cone, or on a stick. “The flavors remind me of home,” adds DeSuze.
Gueros Brooklyn, owned by Clay Mallow, Wade Hagenbart, and Troy Hagenbart, is known across the borough for their refreshing (and large) margaritas made with real fruit juice. But for many, the real MVP is the nachos made from homemade chips topped with beef brisket and the most delicious queso. Gueros Brooklyn is open all day, and offers a Texan spin on tacos for breakfast. “These tacos are delish and they’re generous with the margaritas,” says DeSuze.
Vernel Samuel, pastor of Hungry 4 God Church, along with the clergy and congregants of the church pooled money to open The Sanctuary Juice Bar. Since the juice bar has opened, Vernel and his team have become known for their love, and loved for their juice. At The Sanctuary Juice Bar, you’ll find fresh juice, smoothies, and baked goods. Check out their power shakes for a tasty way to eat more protein. “Entirely healthy juice options based in good vibes,” says DeSuze.
Wasool Rahman’s Trinidad Golden Place is the place where Chinese and Trinidadian cuisine meet in a delicious fusion. While Trinidad Golden Place may seem inconspicuous from the outside, the delicious smells following the line out the door show that bakery is a true hidden gem. Wasool’s pastries and baked goods are fresh, flavorful, and each have the perfect texture. “The best fresh pastries in town! And, the Chinese and Trinidadian fusion is on point,” says DeSuze.
King Fish Market, owned by Yoon Kyesun, displays a large selection of carefully kept, fresh fish. The fish is excellent and the customer service is just as good. Yoon and the team at King Fish Market are sure to greet you with a smile and help you find exactly what you’re looking for. Bonus: King Fish Market also has live crab! “My go to spot,” says DeSuze: “a fresh steamed fish meal topped with excellent customer service.”
Explore the rest of our Apple Guides to find more curated lists that highlight the favorite local small businesses of Latinx business owners in Los Angeles, Seattle, and San Francisco.