Mexican treats will be among variety of offerings at 3521 Ridge Road — the pink building across from Beggars Pizza
By Josh Bootsma
LANSING, Ill. (July 8, 2021) – Many a passerby has noticed the pink building at 3521 Ridge Road in Lansing, the planned future home of Kdulche Café. Months in the making, the future café plans to bring coffee, sandwiches, shakes, smoothies, crepes, and pastry items to Lansing.
Kdulche Café is the work of friends and entrepreneurs Eduardo Zepeda and Paola Ayala. Friends for over a decade, the pair are both from Guadalajara, Mexico and plan to incorporate some Mexican drinks and treats into the café’s offerings.
“Dulche” is similar to the Spanish word “dulce,” which means “sweet.” In Spanish, “que dulce” means “how sweet,” and the café’s name “Kdulche” evokes a similar message.
From front porch to downtown Lansing
Zepeda has worked for many years in the food service industry, while Ayala runs her own hair salon. Both decided to combine their entrepreneurial aspirations and talents to create Kdulche Café.
The first iteration of Kdulche wasn’t a café at all, but rather Ayala’s front porch. The pair sold milkshakes, coffee, pastries, and other items through word-of-mouth sales starting in 2020.
“In the Latino community, it’s very popular to just sell out of your house, to other Latinos,” Zepeda explained. “But we totally understand that in other communities, they prefer to get [food and drink items] from a business. For them it’s maybe more healthy or secure.”
As he sold more and more gourmet food items for events and friends, Zepeda and Ayala realized their business might do well in a brick-and-mortar setting. The pair wanted to model their new business after La Michoacana Compi — located at 19283 Burnham Avenue in Lansing — but with a twist.
“It’s going to pretty much the same thing, but with a different concept,” Zepeda said.
After looking in Hammond, IN — where both of them live — Zepeda and Ayala eventually found the Ridge Road location, and Ayala and her husband purchased the building.
A menu for everyone
The brightly-colored building will sell milkshakes, coffee, pastries, sandwiches, and crepes throughout the day, with other platters and food options available for catering.
“At first our idea was just to have sweets, nothing savory, nothing like that. But I was like, we’re not going to be able to just do sweets, we have the potential to do so many things, so that’s when we decided to come up with some savory things too,” Zepeda said.
The café only has a half kitchen, meaning many of the food items will be baked or cooked somewhere else before being served at the café. Zepeda said things like a panini press or other small machinery shy of ovens and stoves will allow them to serve some hot food.
Zepeda is especially excited to include some Mexican items in the menu at Kdulche, including tortas salgadas (similar to a pot pie), mazapanes (sweet peanut candies), Besitos de Nuez (pecan cookies), Carlos V bars (Mexican chocolate bars), and drinks like horchata (sweet rice milk), and aguas frescas (cool, sweet fruit drinks).
Kdulche will have options for dine-in, carryout, and catering.
Vision and space
After moving into the space, Zepeda and Ayala opted to paint the exterior of their storefront a bright pink — a color not uncommon for Mexican ice cream shops — and a color that drew hundreds of eyes on a daily basis. Recently, the duo has started repainting the exterior from the bold pink to a lighter tint of pink, a tint that more closely resembles Kdulche’s logo and interior color scheme.
The interior of the building is just as brightly colored as the outside, with dusty pinks and aqua blues accented by gold decor. Zepeda and Ayala have worked with contractors to remodel the inside of the building and convert the space from a former boutique into a functional café. The pair has also purchased some items from other local restaurants and shops that were forced to close during the pandemic and kept a close eye on Facebook Marketplace, from which they bought two entertainment centers and have converted them for use in Kdulche.
Pending final approval from the Village, Zepeda and Ayala hope their café will seat around 40 people, with different table sizes to accommodate different parties. They estimate 3-4 employees will be hired as well.
Although opening has been a longer process than Zepeda and Ayala would have liked, they are now hoping to open in September, though they don’t plan to have a grand opening ceremony.
“I don’t want customers to have such high hopes and for us to be so busy, with a small kitchen, that they go away disappointed,” Zepeda explained. “When we open, we’re just going to put an ‘open’ sign up and that’s it. So people are going to start seeing ‘open’ and they’re going to park, they’re going to come over, they’re going to start buying and spread the word.”
Currently, the plan is to open Kdulche Café every day except Monday, from 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. More information about the café can be found on its Facebook page. The café will be located at 3521 Ridge Road in Lansing.