Like a lot of new coffee shops with nighttime wine and bites programs, Daughter intends to feature a menu of pastries made in-house, specialty coffee, and natural wine. But what sets this Crown Heights concept apart from many others is a proactive charitable mission, baked into the process. The new coffee shop and wine bar, from a Sey Coffee and Daymoves alum, is slated to open this December in Crown Heights at 1090 St. John’s Place, near Kingston Avenue.
Quarterly, the team plans to donate ten percent of profits to various organizations, such as those focused on aiding the crisis of infant mortality rates in the black community, a cause that co-founder, Adam Keita — an alum of Brooklyn coffee mainstays, Sey and Daymoves — says is dear to his heart. Annually, an estimated 25 percent of profits will go towards funding a creative business endeavor of someone in the neighborhood.
In the restaurant industry, “family meal” is a time when staff eat together before service begins. Keita tells Eater that from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m., when the team will be taking their daily respite, the cafe will also have cafeteria-style meals available to anyone in the community who needs it — no questions asked. “A hungry soul doesn’t do good work,” says Keita, who’s partners on the project are Sarah Elisabeth Huggins and Brian, whom Keita met working at Partners Coffee a few years back (Brian asked Eater to have their last name remain anonymous as they have yet to let their current employer know about the business venture).
The kitchen — mostly with a menu of casual small plates — will be run by Dana Heyward, who recently launched a small bake sale to raise money for the Okra Project, a non-profit focused on giving back to trans people of color through cooking.
Keita, who is of African and Caribbean descent, shared that items like plantain bread, rather than banana, might make an appearance as well as other recipes that speak to each team member’s personal history. By contrast, he said, that while he loves croissants, he currently doesn’t see a way for them to be on the menu, because they’d have to be priced around five dollars — the antithesis of trying to keep prices lower for the neighborhood.
Keita, a native of the Bronx, hopes that Daughter will be an accessible space that doesn’t tell Crown Heights what it needs, but rather responds to the needs of the neighborhood.
“Growing up, I didn’t know what specialty coffee was,” says Keita. “I knew what bodega coffee was — which is great in its own way — but the key to making coffee less whitewashed is giving access and opportunities to more people of color.” Keita intends to be purposeful with the staffing of the cafe, ethical bean sourcing, and even the rotating art on the walls.
It’s not lost on him that when he started working in coffee, there were rarely people who looked like him in managerial positions. “A lot of new wave coffee places have failed to remember what serving a community can really look like,” he says. “If someone is homeless and stops by, let them in. Give them a cup of coffee. New York is wonderful but we can’t erase the uncomfortable parts just because it’s convenient.”
When it is safe to do so again, guests can drink a cup of coffee on Daughter’s stoop, an indoor staircase that will be built inside for casual hangouts and a nod to the neighborhood’s architecture (the total seat count is approximately 50).
And though for many, sustainability has been put on the back-burner during the pandemic, Keita says that rather than selling pre-packaged beans, Sey, their coffee purveyor of choice, will be sold in bulk bins of coffee, and they’ll ask customers to bring a mason jar to fill up for purchase. “When COVID hit my hope started to vanish. But when the protests began I was determined to not let this fire die,” he said.