How a small Oakland cafe is having an international impact

With the smell of warm spices and herbs wafting out its open doors, Cafe el Patio sits nestled in a bustling plaza in Fruitvale, Oakland. Allan is the man behind the counter, the kitchen and the cafe itself. He jokingly described his role, “I am the front end, back end, in the kitchen, everything is all me.” Allan is a Kiva borrower and Cafe el Patio is the brainchild of the Bay Area native. 

Fresh out of university, Allan struggled to secure a job. “After months and months of applications [to no avail] and driving for Uber and Lyft for a year and a half, I was able to save a little bit of money. So I said, you know what, if no one is going to hire me, I can create a business by myself and create opportunities for others.” With the help of a $7,000 Kiva loan, Allan has been able to hire locals and even expand his menu. “We’re taking it one step at a time. Right now we are doing a lot of soup, but with a Kiva loan we can do a variety of other stuff.” And that is exactly what he has been doing, serving up affordable home-cooked Honduran meals to residents and visitors of Fruitvale.

Allan in front of Cafe el Patio

And though Cafe el Patio is community-based, it also has an international impact. The coffee served at the cafe is sourced from a farm owned by a family member of Allan’s, in Honduras. Therefore, supporting Cafe el Patio also helps the farm increase their income.

For Allan, Cafe el Patio is a way of giving back to the community that has greatly impacted him. “I enjoy serving good food to the community”, he said, “and that’s the sort of fulfillment I get.”

“I’m a new business owner, so starting my first business is always going to be stressful. But I can have someone come in for less than $10 for a good meal, I want them to be able to afford something, and that they don’t walk away hungry. So I kind of wanted to be like ‘hey, if someone is hungry, you don’t have too much, it’s okay to come in and enjoy a good meal.'"

Lend some hope to others like Allan with a Kiva loan.

About the author

Barani Maung