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Coffee shop in Seattle's South Park neighborhood practices 'radical hospitality'

Resistencia Coffee wants every customer to feel welcomed and supported by the local community

SEATTLE — A coffee shop in Seattle’s South Park neighborhood is known for serving great espresso and the community.

Cote and Tim Soerens opened Resistencia Coffee to create a welcoming gathering space for all their customers.

"A big, big quality of South Park is that we, as a neighborhood, practice radical hospitality,” Cote said. "Our goal is that everyone who comes here feels radically welcome."

Credit: KING TV
The small coffee shop in South Park has become a gathering space where customers are encouraged to connect with each other.

Tim added, "Our manager Shizuno (Wynkoop) loves to say that everyone who's here is a neighbor."

The couple moved to South Park five years ago and were immediately impressed by the sense of trust among their neighbors. The coffee shop is their effort to keep those connections alive and stave off gentrification.

Credit: KING TV
Tim and Cote Soerens opened Resistencia Coffee to help stave off gentrification in the South Park neighborhood.

"We made the calculation that there will be a coffee shop, a hip coffee shop, at some point,” Cote said. “So if there will be a coffee shop, it had better be owned by the neighborhood."

All the business partners live nearby, and neighbors helped build out the space where Resistencia operates.

"It really was like a neighborhood barn raising,” Tim said. “It was beautiful."

The coffee beans are roasted by Café Umbria, about two blocks away. Local art decorates the walls. And neighborhood kids are trained in food and beverage service through Resistencia’s ‘Barista Brigade’ program.

"In the Latin American tradition, ‘Resistencia’ means a group of people that comes together in solidarity to solve their own problems. We care for everyone in the neighborhood," Cote said.

But it’s not meant to be a shop exclusively for South Park residents. The Soerens want their inclusive space to attract customers from all over.

"You're able to love others when you feel loved. So if you feel a little bruised in the heart, we hope that this experience is a good one for you so that enables you to love back,” Cote said.

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They regularly host open mics and community events. Schedules are available on the shop’s Instagram account.

Resistencia Coffee | Open Daily | 1249 S. Cloverdale Street.

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