Eastown’s Kava House to close its doors

 Photo Courtesy Saraphina Sefcik


Photo Courtesy Saraphina Sefcik

Pam Murray and her daughter, Leigh Vander Molen, owners of the local coffee house Kava House, came to the position where they had to decide whether or not to renew the building lease for the Kava House. With much thought, and many factors considered, an announcement made on Nov. 3 stated that the Kava House will be closing.

“We were very sad when we found out. My husband and I finally found a coffee shop we like,” said Tricia Behmlander, a local resident.

Kava House serves a variety of hot beverages and baked goods. Favorites include straight black coffee, raspberry and caramel mochas and Granny Cakes.

“I’ve been going here for 16 years my whole life. I have a lot of good memories. I used to come with my family to get cookies and hot chocolate,” said Isa Hoban, a local resident.

Now Hoban comes with her friends because the “big tables are great for studying.” Many students take advantage of this laid-back atmosphere.

“The Kava House is quite spacious and is at a convenient location,” said local resident Kevin Swanson.

The Kava House is a family-friendly coffee house that has been around for over two decades.

“I have been coming here 23 years and I love how it is endlessly the same. I used to walk around [here] as a baby. I love how the people that work here are so wonderful and nice,” said Katie Lichtenstein-Fortier, a local resident.

Friends, family and neighbors of the owners have shared many memories here. The iconic coffee shop has been a popular destination for family gatherings, two friends catching up or simply to hang out.

“Everyone is family here. You even see families come in throughout the years and see them grow up,” said employee Sarah Rodriguez.

Joel Wabeke, a chef at Wright and Company in Detroit, and Rowster Coffee will be the new tenants. They plan to open some sort of a new, locally-owned cafe by January. They want to keep it a local independent business. Current employees will have the opportunity to work at the new venture.

“My favorite part about working here is definitely the customers. I enjoy interacting and getting to know the regulars. I’ll miss being a part of the Kava House. It’s such a legendary place here in Grand Rapids,” said employee Lindsay Sanderson.

This local favorite will be closing after 23 years of business on Nov. 20.