A Little Café With the Boldest Coffee on the Block
Last summer it was just dirt and rocks, now it’s a gorgeous courtyard with a botanical atmosphere and cozy café nestled in the heart of downtown St. Petersburg.
Cara Tropical Courtyard Café had its grand opening June 3, 2014. Janet Kaspar is the owner of Cara Florida Properties and decided to open her own café to the public. The apartments surrounding the courtyard have been around since the 1920s and offer a historic vibe to the community. Located at Fifth Street N. and Crescent Lake Drive, the little café offers the boldest coffee on the block.
“Coffee is jet fuel,” Kaspar said. “Why drink it if it’s watery?”
Kaspar loves downtown, but wants to change the perceptions of the neglected side of St. Pete. She says her mission is to create an atmosphere that is a combination of modern Beach Drive and historic Northeast.
“This side of St. Pete is kind of like the red-headed step-child,” Kaspar said. “Everyone talks about the other side of St. Pete, but I want to help change that.”
Kaspar has plans of expanding her business, but for now she just wants to get on the map. She built the courtyard so people can grab a cup of coffee with breakfast and relax somewhere peaceful where they can enjoy the scenery or take advantage of the free Wi-Fi. If customers like what they see, they can register to host an event in the courtyard.
Cara Tropical Courtyard Café is only open Tuesday through Saturday from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m., but a lot goes on in those three short hours. Not only can you get hot bold java for $2 a cup, you can also be enlightened by crystal readings and yoga.
Kat Von Frenck, 32, is a certified crystal healer and goes to the courtyard every morning to offer crystal and tarot readings. She has a special connection to the courtyard since she held her wedding there last October. Frenck is passionate about what she does and wants to help people connect with their inner energy.
“The energy is already there,” Frenck said. “It just needs to be released by replacing the negatives with happiness.”
Sara Frendahl is a yoga instructor and plans on hosting yoga classes to the public in the courtyard alongside Frenck. Their goal is to bring the community together with great coffee, spiritual guidance, and exercise.
Kaspar’s mission is that Cara Tropical Courtyard Café gives people living on “the other side” of downtown St. Pete hope. She truly cares about her customers and knows her regulars on a first name basis. The courtyard offers an experience you can’t get anywhere else downtown. She’s reluctant to talk about the café’s future, but grinning from ear to ear admits she has big plans.
“Watch us grow,” she said.