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Ava Café in Cranston mixes a variety of Latin flavors


Cranston’s Ava Café serves up fresh pastries and cereal lattes (like a horchata latte topped with a sweet bread roll called a concha) for an early morning wake-up meal or afternoon revitalization. Photography courtesy of Cafe Ava Instagram.

Save yourself the stress of the airport and $200 on a flight to Latin America and head for the next best thing: Ava Cafe in Cranston.

Family-owned and run by Andrea and Derek Cabrera, the duo have launched their cozy nook in Square Rolfe after their 2-year-old daughter, Ava, with hope Starting a legacy for her name.

“It’s a first-generation dream to open your family’s business and have that legacy,” Andrea says, adding that she had no mentors to talk to about topics like this at the time, something their daughter won’t have to worry about.

“We’re doing a lot better than we expected,” says Derek, “but even if the coffee shop fails, Ava can come back when she’s older and say, ‘I have a thing for myself,’ and that will give her the confidence and drive to bring it to life.”

With the help of Andrea and Derek’s business savvy, their love of travel and Andrea’s mother’s baking talents, it didn’t take long for the café to gain popularity among Rhode Islanders after opening on November 29.

The beginning of Ava Cafe

Derek has always been the ambitious type. The moment he took a bite of Andrea’s mother’s pastry for the first time, the only thing on his mind was how to give her baking skills the expertise they deserve.

“I had never tasted a cake like her mother’s cake before. I was like, ‘Wow, this woman needs to sell this stuff and put it on display!'” says Derek.

Andrea, a New York transplant, noticed a lack of Latino culture during her travels with her husband, especially in certain parts of Rhode Island. “Not many people want to travel to areas where things like this are available because of language or cultural barriers,” Andrea says. “We’re blending a lot of cultures that people haven’t experienced before and are finally ready for it because we’re giving them access. That’s what inspired us to create a community where we welcome anyone and we can educate people.”

Ava Cafe

Andrea, holding 2-year-old Ava, cuts the ribbon for Ava’s coffee shop with Derek to her right. Image courtesy of Cafe Ava Instagram.

The café’s decor is vibrant and intentional

If it’s not the delicious aroma you notice as soon as you walk in, it’s the interior design of the shop that lifts your senses; From the iconic Frida Kahlo photo behind the green sofa, or the perfect wooden hammock for Instagram photos with Coquito Latte on hand. Even the café’s decor includes dual nods to Latino culture and an appreciation for making the most of what you’ve got.

Derek, who has been in the real estate business for seven years, was very intentional with the design of the space. The tiling work on the counter was inspired by a recent trip to Guatemala.

“If you see our floor pattern, it looks old and worn with wood and tile, especially the bar area,” says Derek. “I made the pattern very random and down to earth…let’s say someone was building it in a different country and all they had was fifteen blue tiles and twenty-five brown tiles. They’ll make it work with that. If any kind of The culture is here and they said it reminds them of their home country, that was the point.”

Ava Cafe

The OG breakfast sandwich is made with arepa, eggs, cheese and ham. Image courtesy of Cafe Ava Instagram.


Once the design aspect was complete, Andrea put the finishing touches on and made the walls pop with color and artwork.

“I’m from Guatemala, so I wanted to give people a little flair without having to travel,” Andrea says. “I love the modern coffee shop, but we wanted to do something a little different.”


The first thing you must try at Cafe Ava is the arepa, the café’s number one seller. If you’re lucky enough to get your hands on it before it sells out, be sure to try the OG breakfast sandwich made with eggs, cheese, and ham. If your sweet tooth is tempted, order a fenugreek with Cheese and condensed milk on top. The arepa can be stuffed with a variety of meats, and is made fresh every morning alongside other menu items such as raspberry-lemon loaf, carrot cake, blueberry muffin, and almond cake.

Mixing Latin cultures

The Ava Café crew not only wanted to stay true to their motto of “quality over quantity”; They wanted to give people a taste of home.

“There is meaning behind everything, everything is carefully curated. With a simple menu, we want everyone to feel welcome,” says Andrea. “I’m Guatemalan, my husband is Dominican… If you go to the different menu items, you’ll see that the style we do in arepas is Venezuelan. We have cortaditos that have a Cuban influence. We also have salami which is popular in the Dominicans.”

Café Ava explains that in Latino cultures, many aspects of food and coffee styles overlap and nothing belongs to just one person. Anyone who steps in can feel like there is a small piece of them inside the store.

“You can find arepas in Puerto Rico and they’re not Puerto Rican. My mom is Guatemalan but she knows how to make Venezuelan arepas, it’s just a mixture of all the cultures and I think that’s the most important part of it,” Andrea says.

We are a Latin Café; We don’t want to confuse people and think it’s a Dominican-Guatemalan cafe because it’s not – the owners just happen to be Guatemalans and Dominicans,” adds Derek.

The future of Ava Cafe

Andrea and Derek hope to expand their café with a beer and wine license, and then a liquor license, hopefully in the near future. They envision a sophisticated atmosphere with Latin music for dancing and catching up with friends over late night drinks. In the morning, a horchata latte and maybe a mimosa on the weekends for brunch. A location next to them, for example, would be an ideal martini lounge attached to a coffee shop.

The duo’s long-term goal is to open several coffeehouse locations across Rhode Island and possibly further afield. With little Ava already with her grandmother in the kitchen, kneading dough for fun and watching her make her famous pastries, she’ll be ready to help out her parents in no time.

The café is open from Tuesday to Friday. 7am-3pm, Sat. 8 am – 3 pm and sun. 8 am – 2 pm

48B Rolfe Square, Cranston,

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