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Cafe Corazon Steals KC's Heart 

MEET THE MIDWEST'S DISTINGUISHED LATINX AMERICAN COFFEE SHOP

Article by Mindy Hargesheimer

Photography by Mindy Hargesheimer

Café Corazon; you’ve gone and done it. You’ve stolen my HEART and taken KC’s coffee community to another inspiring level! 

Kansas City residents, or should I say, “Midwest residents;” the lovely and warm owners behind 43rd and Westport Rd’s @cafecorazon have officially granted our landlocked region an authentic Latin American café that serves otherwise impossible to find specialty coffee drinks, as well as the South American founded, Yerba Mate. 

“Corazon” translates to heart, and the welcoming hospitality served up at this 20th century pharmacy-turned Westport Latinx corner café is sure to be cherished. I brought my daughter in with me who fully gets that not only is her mom a coffee shop enthusiast, but at the mere age of 5 understands the art and draw of a memorable coffee shop experience.

Never mind the fact that she doesn’t want, nor would I buy her actual coffee; it’s the hot cocoa and sweet treats she’s there for, and “classic dark, spicy mayan, Azteca Mexican, dulce de leche” hot cocoa she did get…with whipped cream and drizzled chocolate on top, of course. Paring that with an authentic Mexican Concha (iced Sweet Bread), this girl’s genetic, exploratory heart was overflowing with true, kid-like bubbling joy.

I opted for the delicious Horchata Latte for all the cinnamon and vanilla vibes I could get my hands on. It’s one of the most popular specialty drinks to-date, but also made for a difficult decision given the attractive holiday drink menu that stared me down at the register (“The Grinch Has a HEART;” you were a wickedly close second)  

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The Food in Café Corazon: Incredible Tamales and Your Cuppa Joe

I have a massive appreciation and passion for all things Latin American; the food is incredible and inspiring, the culture is colorful and contagious, and the people are hospitable, helpful, and hearty. So, let’s talk about the FOOD. 

In addition to coffee, espresso, tea, and non-coffee drinks, you’ll find locally sourced baked goods and…tamales!

Never in my wildest dreams did I anticipate the phenomenal pairing of Messenger Coffee + The Tamale Kitchen all under one KCMO roof. Partnering with this female-founded, North Kansas City non-profit kitchen that is changing the community for the better one tamale at a time, Café Corazon’s service of “KC’s best tamales” gives back to immigrant women by driving new revenues and jobs, ultimately working to break the cycle of poverty. And be still my compassionate heart; this is what supporting local is all about.  

My first encounter with these hand-made and authentic chicken, pork, vegetable, and sweet tamales was at Dia de los Muertos at the Nelson Atkins’ annual festival (held each November).

The line is always out the door, and the tamales are gone FAST…for good reason. Funds driven from the sale of TTK’s tamales support faith, families, and community right here in Kansas City, and the bursting flavors and spices rolled into these corn husk-based bad boys is simply irresistible. 

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The Culture: Artists Telling Their Story

And then there’s the CULTURE; the colors! The soul! The sounds!

The deep and rich meaning of so many celebrations! If you’ve been following me on @kansascitybucketlist, you know my love for murals runs deep. Few things excite me more than an oversized, intricate, vibrant mural that just scratches the surface telling a story from the muralist’s point of view.

Café Corazon was brilliant in marking their territory with a stunning mural, enlisting artists Rodrigo Alvarez and Isaac Tapia to create a visual story about the community of individuals over time who eventually found their way here, in Kansas City.

Mexico City’s dark blue skyline shadows Kansas City’s light blue, bringing these two magnificent cities intertwined together. And, skylines and national flowers from a handful of significant South American countries represent throughout the can’t miss street art that lies below the salvaged pharmacy signage. 

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The People of Café Corazon: Creating a Movement

I had the fortunate opportunity to spend some time chatting it up with owner Miel, who gave me insight into this progressive Latinx café that seems to be taking the coasts by storm but has yet to penetrate the Midwest.

Bravo to Miel and her husband for recognizing not only Kansas City’s unbelievable love of coffee, but also for having gratitude for this city’s cultural advancement, and therefore the intuition to tap into the hearts of this open-to-new experiences metropolis.

Café Corazon, according to Miel’s findings, is the only place in the Midwest serving traditional Yerba Mate tea. And as for Kansas City’s booming coffee scene, @cafecorazon’s Latin Specialty drinks are in a league of their own, and I can’t wait for every coffee consumer to cruise down 43rd to support this amazing culinary addition!   

“Come & experience a café with heart.” 

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