Moka Cafe Opens at Indigo Farms
Moka Café at Indigo Farms is South Brunswick County’s newest place to sip coffee, enjoy a pastry or meet a friend for a light breakfast or lunch.
Moka Café is a dream come true, not only for its owners but also for anyone looking for top-notch coffee and baked goods in Calabash.
The business is a family enterprise. Sisters-in-law Kalayna Owens and Cortney Owens Decker run the cafe, while Renée Owens (Cortney’s mother and Kalayna’s mother-in-law) makes all the baked goods.
Kaylana and Cortney had been dreaming of opening a cafe for a while and had been talking to their husbands about the possibilities and looking for a location.
“My mom, Kate Curran, runs a nonprofit ministry coffee house in Myrtle Beach, where I fell in love with the craft of coffee,” Kaylana says.
Cortney adds, “I’ve always wanted to own a place like a cafe, a place where I could enjoy serving people and build community and relationships with customers.”
Things started moving quickly in May of 2018, after Renée, a regular shopper at Indigo Farms, asked farm owners Sarah and Sam Bellamy about their then-vacant bakery space. After Cortney’s husband, Justin, and brother, Cory Blue Owens, looked over the kitchen equipment and assessed what would be needed to give the space the country look the women wanted, Cortney and Kaylana signed the rental lease and began the process of meeting the county building codes and health requirements for a restaurant.
“We’re pleased to have someone local using the space, a family business interested in using our fruits and vegetables and concerned about healthy eating,” Sarah says.
Moka Café joined the Brunswick County Chamber of Commerce to become a part of the local business family as well. Chamber President Shannon Viera says, “We are always happy to welcome a new business and work with them to help them be successful.”
Of course, the key to the success of any eatery is good service and the quality of the food and drink. Moka Café has all three.
Renée, the force behind the baked goods and menu items, has roots in North Carolina, so she has a great respect for local and historic North Carolina recipes. In the beginning, she used some of the former bakery’s recipes (especially for the pies). However, she has modified those recipes with her own special touches and introduced new specialties that have already become customer favorites. Sarah, for one, pronounces Renée’s blueberry cream pie as delicious!
“Customer desires help shape the menu,” Renée says. “We try new things using seasonal items and offer vegan and gluten-free options as well. When something proves popular, it remains as long as customers want it.”
Savory breakfast sandwiches, egg strata and other specialties are hits at breakfast. Chicken and egg salads grace the lunch menu on a regular basis, and there are always breakfast specials and at least one vegan lunch special daily. Those in a hurry can call ahead, and the pastry, breakfast or lunch order will be ready for pick-up at the register.
Reneé also makes sweet breads, (peach, zucchini and more) and challah on Fridays. “Everyone should have fresh, good bread on the home table,” Renée says. The cafe’s ingredients are all natural, mostly local and organic when that option is available. Kalayna adds, “We have a basic cafe menu, but we always love to try out new things and can pretty much make anything the customer would like.”
Of course, any cafe needs high-quality coffee and a strong supporting cast of tea and other beverages. For their potables, Kalayna and Cortney reached out to Sonny and Sarah Moy, owners of Jumpin’ Java in Shallotte. Sarah Moy and Cortney went to high school together.
“Cortney, Kalayna and Renée sampled all of our coffees as well as coffees from some other roasters,” Sonny says. “I think the quality of our brand, Rooster and The Hen coffee, and the fact that we are also a small, family-run business helped them make the decision to use our products.”
Moka Café buys beans for hot brews and bottled cold-brew coffee from the Moys. Sonny notes, “My dad, Rick Moy, is our cold-brew expert. He brews and monitors each batch of cold brew. It takes 18 hours to complete each batch before he bottles it by hand.”
Kalayna says they can make pretty much any coffee or espresso drink. They also serve craft sodas from Rocky Mountain Soda Company. These craft sodas are made in small batches and are all natural, vegan, non-GMO, gluten free and kosher. Cortney and Kalayna create their own specialty drinks as well. One is the Moka Float, an espresso float with vanilla ice cream, mocha or white mocha and a splash of raspberry. They post updates on the latest food and drink specials on their Facebook page.
Moka Café’s country theme carries through from the front counter and bakery area to the dining-area tables. The environment is pleasant and light for those who want to chill with their beverage and sweet or savory treat. The dining area is large enough to accommodate small groups of 10 or fewer. Book clubs, prayer groups, Bible studies and the like should call to ask about a good meeting time, when the cafe is not too busy, on their preferred day.
The cafe is already developing a loyal following. “The warm spirit of the people, the quality of the food and beverages and the soothing welcoming atmosphere of the place is more than enough to make you want to come back time and time again,” Sam says.
Another regular customer, former Brunswick County Commissioner Phil Norris, says, “I stop in often to enjoy the baked goods, lunch or breakfast specials and the homey atmosphere of Moka Café.”
Cortney, Kalayna, and Renée have a common vision for the future of Moka Café. As Cortney says, “In addition to making delicious coffee drinks and baked goods, we would like to continue to promote a sense of community in our little piece of North Carolina. We want our cafe to be a place where the community can gather and meet and can continue to get to know everyone in their own community.”
Want to visit Moka Cafe?
Indigo Farms, 1542 Hickman Road NW, Calabash
Hours are 6:30 am to 3:30 pm Monday through Saturday