Downtown Tampa's newest coffee house is serving up gourmet eats for a higher purpose.
Nestled into the northern corner of downtown Tampa is a church's gift to it's beloved city. Justin LaRosa is the director of The Portico.
"We have this whole city block. We're all about developing the social, spiritual fabric of downtown Tampa," he said.
The massive space once housed the city's oldest church: First United Methodist of Tampa. When that congregation moved on, Hyde Park United Methodist purchased the property.
4,000 square feet of the campus has been transformed into a coffee house, offering a full menu created by the chef behind popular South Tampa eatery's Oxford Exchange and Fresh Kitchen. You can feel good about supporting this lunch spot.
"It also provides an opportunity for people transitioning out of different not-for-profit programs an opportunity to work. A portion of our work force is staffed that way. We provide them healthcare and a livable wage," LaRosa said.
Patrons are encouraged to stay awhile, or hold their next group gathering in The Portico's meeting spaces.
A community hall hosts a range of activities throughout the week, including free yoga classes and Sunday night services. Over in the chapel, meditation classes are offered multiple nights a week.
It took Hyde Park Methodist about 4 years to transform the campus. It's their way of showing Tampa how to put their faith in action.
"When people come to this coffee shop and they engage with their friends or groups, they're buying sandwiches or coffee, they're really positively impacting the community," LaRosa said.
The Portico Cafe is located on the corner of N. Florida Avenue and E. Tyler Street in downtown Tampa. For more information about their hours, special events, and event space, visit their website, theportico.org.