Chikondi!

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We interrupt the burger-sampling to address something very important--coffee.

A few mornings ago, I stopped by the much-anticipated Chikondi Cafe. On Central Falls’s busy Dexter St., it’s a little oasis of quiet, comfort, and coffee. When I entered, the best seat--a large, pillow-backed half-booth in the window--was occupied, and I had a Mayor Diossa sighting at another of the ten or so small tables.

The cafe offers most of the usual coffee and latte choices. I was in a hurry, so I ordered a large black coffee to go. It was so rich and not-bitter and perfect that I went back yesterday morning for another. The large half-booth was again occupied, this time by a possibly-retired couple who came to check it out for the first time after hearing about it in their church.

This time, I had a little bit more time, and another excellent coffee. Owner Gerardo Reyes says that he is currently using all Colombian coffee, but that he will buy some Guatemalan beans the next time he orders, and offer both. This time, I was able to stop and notice how much personal attention he had put into the creation of this place. Reyes did the renovation and construction work himself, using shiny wood fiberboard (I had to look that up) for tabletops and other surfaces--making for a clean, uncluttered look.

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It’s the kind of place where random strangers end up talking with each other (this happened both times that I visited) and where Spanish and English are both in use. It's the kind of place where maybe you might not immediately realize that those pillows in the large booth were hand-made to order, from Guatemala--but you definitely notice the kind of care and passion that went into that decision, and that goes into everything there.

There are no fancypants donuts at Chikondi Cafe (but there is a small selection of fresh, baked off-site croissants and muffins). There is no line out the door (yet). It is an inviting place where I will hang out whenever I can. It’s all about the coffee and the community. Reyes knows and loves his coffee. And he has created an environment where, if I was the Mayor of Central Falls, I’d make this place my everyday first-stop for sure.

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The RI-style directions to Chikondi Cafe: it’s right next to El Paisa.

The actual address:  590 Dexter St., Central Falls.