In a special series, please check out our feature on these wonderful local businesses, non-profits and artists who bring local loveliness to us all! Please enjoy meeting Jennifer Demetrio and Gary O’Hanlon of Cafe Kindred in Falls Church City, VA.
Jennifer Demetrio and Gary O’Hanlon of Cafe Kindred
What has it been like with the Covid19/ Quarantine Scenario and how have you had to pivot your business?
This is a very strange time for everyone indeed, and we are no exception. Part of running/owning a restaurant is seeing your patrons enjoy time with friends and family, and share laughs over food and drinks they drool over (sometimes literally). Not being able to be a part of that experience is crushing. Most business owners know, if you only do it for monetary success, you’ll always fail. It’s about creating a part of people’s lives that bring them joy. Social distancing, though necessary, is completely contradictory to why we all enjoy restaurants and coffee shops. However, we will continue to offer take away service to our patrons so we may be able to come out on the other side of this madness together, with all of them. We’ve added Online Ordering as well so there is a completely contactless system of utilizing our business.
Have you always had the entrepreneurial spirit?
I guess somewhere down deep it was always within both of us. We are a true team in the sense that there are many times when being an entrepreneur is scary, and we are able to face it together. There is a true sense of pride bringing a business into society that is valued by the community, and that is what we’ve always striven toward.
Do you have a morning routine?
Oh yes…coffee, coffee, coffee! Our days start quite early, so mostly during these COVID 19 times we are up and at ’em and heading into work to bake fresh pastries and set the shop for our loyal guests. Even on off days, there is always a copious amount of Vigilante coffee (shameless plug, roasted with expertise and love in Hyattsville, MD)
When did you decide being an entrepreneur was right for you?
There wasn’t a specific time. An idea grew legs and a heart and once it had momentum there was no stopping it. However, the thought of ever having to leave our business and going to work for someone else doesn’t sit well for either of us, despite having done it and enjoyed it for so many years. I think it grows on you over time.
We chose the building we are in for typical boring reasons that are not super exciting to talk about. Mostly cost, build out return, parking space, etc.
What made you choose Falls Church? Arlington? McLean????
We loved the Falls Church feel of older style but with a desire for growth and innovation. When we came looking for a space, there were no coffee shops in the area, and we wanted to introduce our belief in quality to the community. It is a very supportive area as well.
How do you think your company is different?
We like to think our company is different in that it is based on quality, truth, grit, and service. We are completely honest with our patrons and never sell ourselves as anything we aren’t in truth. We love our customers that have become friends; we bake items fresh; we use local coffee roasters; we treat our staff with respect and do all we can for them. We have, and continue to, work extremely hard to ensure we can put our best foot forward.
What problem are you solving?
Running a business is part-time firefighter in that there is always a problem to solve, which in turn makes your business more valuable and streamlined. Currently? How to stay in business through COVID-19, but more importantly, how we come out of the other side of this in a place where our customers will feel confident and comfortable with enjoying life with others again. Will we be a place people can laugh again? That is our challenge.
Where is your favorite place to go in NoVa for a secret escape?
Our absolutely favorite place to go is Dirt Farm Brewery in Bluemont. We live about 45 minutes away, and it is a retreat for the mind and soul. Truly beautiful scenery, dog-friendly, and good beer. On a more consistent note, we very much miss being able to go to Algonkian Park for daily escapes.
Is there something you want people to know about your business that no one knows?
We are truly small business. We were truly built with hard work. We are a couple of people who were lucky enough to get our shot and put in hours and hours and hours of work to make it come together. We tiled, we painted, we moved and installed equipment. We worked every hour until we could afford staff. There are plenty of places out there that put the face on of being a small business; we are not one of them.
Tell us a secret about your company.
If we told you, it wouldn’t be a secret! Here’s one…there is not a single day that goes by that we don’t work on making our business better for our staff and/or guests.
If you weren’t running your business what would you be doing?
Working in a hotel as a Pastry Chef; we were both Pastry Chefs in our past lives, before Cafe Kindred.
What is your life motto?
Embarrassingly enough, we don’t really have one. We just do the best we can. Some days are better than others, as they are for everyone.
When you started your company, did you have an idea about what would go into the day to day?
No clue. Even if you think you know, you have know idea.
What is playing right now in your playlist?
Some of the usual stuff: Johnny Marr, Paul Weller, David Bowie. Our buddy Jason Hoese has been doing live Instagram shows so we’ve been watching him do his thing on there which is pretty cool.
Do you have a favorite instagram?
The photography on @districtninja page is phenomenal. We’re not huge social media users except for business.
Do you have a favorite hike and bike trail?
Love Great Falls the best.
What fitness regimen do you follow?
None 🙂 Before this COVID-19 business I visited PureBarre Falls Church. It’s an amazing community and workout. Since they’ve closed, I miss them dearly, and look forward to visiting again. For now, walking the dog!
What trends do you think we should be looking at now?
This is a strange time; we think people will mostly be looking for places that are local and will be giving up on the major businesses that have failed them when they needed them most. We will probably see a shift to support our neighbors in business, no matter what the industry, as opposed to major corporations. We’ll be seeing more people utilizing the skills they’ve learned during quarantine, and maybe more creative small businesses pop up. At least, this is what we hope for our society. Less focus on quantity, more focus on quality.
What is your style?
Wish we had some! Mostly industrial farm style stuff for decor.
What is your favorite food? Do you have a favorite local hotspot?
There is no such thing. It’s like a favorite song; it’s whatever your soul needs in the moment. We love the pizza at Pizzeria Orso. So good!
450 N. Washington St. Ste. F
Falls Church, VA 22046