Michigan’s first ‘Dying Cafe’ opens in Grand Rapids
Michigan’s first opened in Grand Rapids just in time for Halloween.
Mortals Cafe describes itself as a death-themed cafe that brings out Vietnamese coffee, worldly teas, and inspired flavors with a conversation about our own mortality.
The cafe’s owner, Abbey Hunter, says the thought process behind opening a death-oriented cafe started with an intrigue of death at a young age and a desire to become an undertaker, along with a strong passion for food and travel.
Hunter first learned about the concept of a “Death Cafe” while studying the subject of death and dying at Grand Valley State University.
The “Death Cafe” is a social event that anyone can host, and the location can be anywhere. Hunter took a more literal approach by creating a brick and mortar site that would serve a stronger function within the surrounding community.
Mortals Cafe may be the first official Death Cafe in the state, but not the first in the world. They originated in London in 2011. Over the past decade, they have grown in popularity across Europe and Australia before some made their appearance in the United States, according to WZZM.
“My goal is to have a solid database of death bedoulas, estate planners, and hospice centers on our website within the next year, as well as hosting monthly events to help people familiarize themselves with their own mortality – whether it be when planning their wills or find a conversation, “said Hunter.
The next event will focus on estate planning and will take place on October 26th at 6 p.m. You can find more information about the event on The Mortals Facebook page.
For beverage options, Hunter brought along a few favorites that are new to the coffee scene.
The hotel is located in the co-work environment known as Little Space Studio at 111 Division Ave S, Grand Rapids, MI 49503.
Follow the cafe up Facebook and Instagram.
“I fell in love with Vietnamese coffee a few years ago,” they said. “What I offer in my café is made with as much authenticity as possible from Vietnamese robusta beans that are roasted in Brooklyn by a woman and a Vietnamese company. I get the sweetened condensed milk from our local Asian markets. Our other coffee will be Delivered here in town by Littlefoot Coffee Roasting Company. All of our menus are ethically sourced and most of them have a sustainability focus on everything from fair trade to compostable packaging. “
The cafe has monthly specials that allow Hunter to get a little creative with globally inspired flavors. In September, for example, the café offers a Salvadoran horchata, which uses a blend of unique spices, seeds, and nuts that give the chilled drink its distinctive flavor.
The shop is open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Going forward, Hunter hopes to extend those hours for the late-night crowd when the cafe takes root.