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Meet Nicholas Stoks of Steel Cup Cafe

Today we’d like to introduce you to Nicholas Stoks. Them and their team share their story with us below:

Marc Chitwood and myself, Nicholas Stoks first met in Minneapolis Mn through a mutual friend. We became quick friends and shortly after became roommates. Both having a background in the restaurant industry we often talked about opening our own store. We both had a strong desire to create a place that focused on offering quality food and drink that everyone could afford. Along with a strong connection to our community and doing our part to protect the environment. 

After deciding to move to Long Beach. There seemed like no better time to take the leap and start our own restaurant. We conducted research and planned out numerous different concepts that we believed would add to any community in which we set up shop and Long Beach as a whole. After finding our location at the corner of Lakewood Blvd and Stearns Street, we came to the conclusion that our concept for a cafe would add the most to the surrounding community. 

Through numerous hurdles and setbacks, we finally opened Steel Cup Cafe in the spring of 2019. We have constantly adapted, changed, grown, and learned to become the cafe we are today. We own so much to our community and the families and friends that have supported us throughout all of it. 

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
It has been anything but a smooth road. There were many obstacles we faced from the very beginning. We encountered many issues during the building out phase and getting the proper permits from the city. It was a combination of not knowing the proper questions to ask and unfortunate circumstances. However, with help from some amazing people at city hall as well as immense amounts of support from our family and friends, we succeeded in opening our own restaurant in spring of 2019. 

After we thought the biggest hurdles were behind us, news of the Coronavirus started circulating, and not long after the country was in the thralls of a global pandemic. As almost every business, especially those in hospitality, it became adapt or close. As a very new business, we had to find a way to attract new customers at a time when everyone was being sequestered to their place of residence. I cannot express how fortunate we were to have such strong support from our community so early on. They not only ordered from us throughout the worst of the pandemic, but they encouraged their friends and family to do so as well. There is no doubt in my mind that without the individuals that supported and promoted us during the earliest days of our business, we would not have made it through the pandemic or become the cafe we are today. 

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your business?
The most important thing to know about Steel Cup Cafe is our three central tenants; community, creativity, and sustainability. We do our best to incorporate all three of these aspects into every decision we make. We love supporting our community and helping to showcase all of the amazing people and their talent. Every year we collect submissions from local artists to promote and sell their pieces on our walls. Our patrons love seeing all the talent and works of art that are created from their neighbors and fellow community members. A shout-out to two of our permanent artists, Myla Gonzales & Ketzie Diaz. Both immensely talented whose artwork adds creativity and life to our walls. Additionally, we have partnered with Bel Canto Books, owned by local, Jhoanna Belfer. She curates a small collection of books for sale that follow a monthly theme. 

It is important to us as a business to constantly improve ourselves and the products and environment we offer. That is why we offer a bimonthly food special, created by chef Marc Chitwood. He enjoys crafting specials that give our customers a chance to try different foods and/or just a change from their menu favorite. We also encourage our employees to suggest changes or improvements that will benefit them and/or the community we serve. 

Lastly, but possibly most important, our commitment to sustainability. We recognize that not only do we have a personal responsibility, but additionally the business has a responsibility to protect our environment. We refrain from using any single-use plastics by opting for paper products or biodegradable/plant fiber alternatives. All of the meat and eggs we bring into the store are free-range and non-GMO. We have partnered with Equal Exchange to supply our coffee beans and teas. They source all of their products from small farms around the world. Every product is certified organic, fair trade, and rainforest alliance. Along with purchasing sustainable products, we also donate to environmental organizations that work to protect our natural world. 

How can people work with you, collaborate with you, or support you?
Follow us on Instagram or Facebook at Steel Cup Cafe for information about specials or business updates. Additionally, all information about the business or to contact us can be found on our website (steelcupcafe.com). 

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Steel Cup Cafe

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