Found: Latin Cuisine, Well-Made

Downtown’s newest coffeehouse Makers & Finders serves much more than caffeine

Chorizo Brussels sprouts with shrimp | Photo by Jon Estrada

Chorizo Brussels sprouts with shrimp | Photo by Jon Estrada

After recently writing about my willingness to eat just about anything—from brains and testicles to grasshoppers and a scorpion—it’s a little embarrassing to admit that there’s one thing you’ll never see me consume: coffee. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever finished a full cup of java. So that left me hard-pressed for something to contribute to our coffee issue. Fortunately, I discovered Makers & Finders Coffee, and I love it—not for its coffee (be it siphon, Moka pot, French or AeroPress), but for its atmosphere and its food.

Makers & Finders is on Main Street, just south of Charleston Boulevard, a Downtown corridor that appears to be developing much more organically than Fremont East. Neighboring businesses include thrift shops, antique stores and other urban mainstays. And along with Hop Nuts Brewing, which recently opened next door, Makers & Finders offers a sidewalk patio perfect for people watching and soaking up the local vibe.

The interior of the café has the kind of bright, funky, minimalist décor you would expect in a Downtown coffeehouse. The staff is laid-back and friendly. And customers’ laptops dot the tables, bartop and communal workspace. Yup—it’s all fairly standard coffeehouse fare.

La Paisa arepa

La Paisa arepa

The food, however, is a lot more interesting than the standard-issue croissants, pastries and simple sandwiches of Starbucks. While those very items are available (thanks to Lulu’s Bread & Breakfast and Henderson’s Gimme Some Sugar), about half of the menu is dedicated to arepas (South American sandwiches), empanadas and other “Latin comfort food.” The latter includes such dishes as chorizo Brussels sprouts with shrimp and mushrooms, as well as a garlic-lime chicken breast with chimichurri sauce.

Most of the dishes I’ve had have been simple and well prepared. My shrimp ceviche was about as straightforward as it gets: large shrimp segments heavily marinated in citrus juice and spices. My chicken tinga empanadas were packed with spicy shredded chicken, and topped with a lime avocado cream sauce and cotija cheese. And a trio of sofrito-spiced Angus beef sliders came with a perfect char from the grill. If you want something a bit more over the top, check out the La Paisa arepa, piled high with carne mechada (shredded beef), crispy chicken skins, avocado, plantains, black beans and a fried egg!

Chicken tinga empanadas.

Chicken tinga empanadas.

If you’re a coffee fan, Makers & Finders offers a number of specialty lattes, including one that’s Mexican spiced and another that’s lavender infused. Other choices include a cortadito (see here), café au lait and cappuccino. But if you share my dislike of the bean, opt for one of the delicious chai or green-tea lattes.

Regardless of whether you view Makers & Finders primarily as a coffee shop, or as a quaint little Latin American restaurant, there’s no denying it makes a nice addition to one of Downtown’s dynamic, up-and-coming neighborhoods.

Makers & Finders Coffee

1120 S. Main St., 702-586-8255. Open for breakfast and lunch 7 a.m.–4 p.m. Mon–Sat. Lunch for two, $20–$40.


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