Encore February 2018

Page 32


Connections and Comfort

Coexist Café’s atmosphere serves up food and friendship by



Brian Powers

hen Lindsey King walks into Kalamazoo’s Coexist Café, she could be coming in to work as a server or planning to order the sandwich that bears her name. No matter the reason, there’s one thing she says is a constant at the cafe: “The atmosphere feels like your living room.” Coexist Café, located in the middle of Campus Pointe Mall, at the corner of Howard Street and West Michigan Avenue, is not easy to see when driving past, even if you know where to look. Despite that, the cafe, which has been open since June 2016, has been successful from the start, its owners say. They attribute that success to the homey atmosphere. That comfortable feeling was the goal from the moment Sam Abu Alsaud and his wife, Rebecca, dreamed up Coexist Café, he says. Originally from Saudi Arabia, Sam came to the U.S. 22 years ago to study electrical engineering at Western Michigan University. As a boy, he says, he would often sit with family members at a table as they drank coffee and talked. “I have a love of talking with people (and) making connections,” he says. “Even ‘connecting me with me,’ if you want to sit in silence with your thoughts, you still want to feel connected.” Sam, Rebecca and their two children — Yusof, 12, and Leila, 2 — live in Kalamazoo, where the couple owns the beer and wine shops Salut Market, 3112 S. Westnedge Ave., and Bottoms Up, 930 W. Michigan Ave. While


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