Last year, when Kahwa Coffee owners Raphael and Sarah Perrier opened their first free-standing drive-thru at the former Wendy’s on Henderson Boulevard in South Tampa, they took off the ’80s-style Wendy’s roof. But it left a big, blank ledge.
They decided to commission Tampa artist Leon Bedore, who created a mural with a distinct geometric pattern. It turns out artwork by Bedore of TesOne is also being featured on McDonald’s french fry packaging during the World Cup.
Raphael Perrier said they were excited to see the response to the new mural.
“We wanted to use a Tampa muralist that would bring their own artistic vision to bring the building to life,” Perrier said. “We get comments every day about it, and overwhelmingly people love it. There are a lot of talented artists in our community and giving them a medium to expose their art is a win for everyone. Art integrated into everyday life just makes sense to us.”
They are getting more business at their Henderson Boulevard location since installing the new mural.
The couple owns two Kahwa Espresso bars and a Kahwa Café in St. Petersburg. Additionally, they also own three establishments in Hillsborough County — Kahwa Café at Rivergate Tower, 400 N. Ashley Drive; Kahwa Espresso Bar at The Element Building, 808 North Tampa St.; and Kahwa Coffee, 3928 W. Henderson Blvd.
Their coffee beans are roasted on site at their company base in St. Pete.
“For now, there are so many communities in the greater Tampa Bay region that we would like to bring our coffee to,” he said. “We have several locations we are working on that will be open before the end of the year and some projects for next year: Westchase, Carrollwood, Clearwater/Largo, West St. Pete, Sarasota. After the next year or so we will probably look at other markets but for now it just makes sense to explore all the neighborhoods in our area. We get emails and comments from people in different areas asking us to open one near them.”
Kahwa Coffee names their coffee blends — Sirocco, Mistral, Boreas, Zonda — after winds from different regions of the world.
“Coffee has a long tradition in Tampa and we wanted to enhance that by bringing our unique coffee and a place for the South Tampa community to have as a gathering place,” Perrier said. “We cater to a mix of all the residents, from artists to parents to business people.
“It is one of the few places where you can find all of these demographics under one roof and that is our goal.”
Even before people developed soccer fever due to the World Cup, Perrier decided to sponsor the Rowdies soccer team in St. Pete. Last year, they also sponsored various sports teams at Plant High School.
For more information about Kahwa Coffee, call (813) 443-0819. The drive-thru hours for the Henderson location are Monday to Saturday from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.