A coffee shop and a church might seem an unlikely combination, but caffeine and God are pairing pretty well at St. Monica Catholic Community in Santa Monica. Holy Grounds at St. Monica, a café serving drip coffee, espresso and lattes, opened Dec. 16.
Located inside the Caruso Community Center beside the rectory, the coffee shop features organic coffee and tea (including Ave Maria, a fruit blend of lychee, kiwi and strawberry) from Urth Caffe. Currently the snacks and pastries are prepackaged, but the facilities operations manager, Elvina Patel, says this may change in the future. The baked goods include sugar-free, gluten-free and vegan choices.
With red umbrellas shading outdoor tables and pop music often playing, Holy Grounds at St. Monica is a serene environment, slightly off the beaten path of the nearby Promenade. Over your latte, you'll get a pretty great view of the church, built in 1926, as well as Christine Emerson Reed Park across Seventh Street.
The café sells Bibles and rosaries alongside the beverages and pastries. With mostly religious titles and trinkets, the space eventually will house a full-on gift shop. “People will be able to buy books, rosaries, Christmas ornaments and CDs, mostly of Christian music,” Patel says.
The hope is that
The hope is that the café, a cozy meeting place that has been open for about two months, will be a cozy meeting place that has been open for about two months, will attract both parishioners and neighborhood folks. Often kids and their accompanying adults file in from the nearby playground. “Hot chocolate is one of our best sellers,” Patel says.
As to why St. Monica's decided to add coffee to its other community services, Patel says, “Monsignor had the vision to have a coffee shop as an extension of the mission.” With inspiration like that, Holy Grounds has nowhere to go but up.