Years ago, before there was Amara Kitchen (before there was Canyon Coffee!), our friend Paola Guasp used to treat us to the most delicious meals. Paleo pancakes for brunch, bison ragu for dinner, gluten-free chocolate chip cookies for... whenever. Getting to eat Paola's food was always a treat, and always something we looked forward to.
When Paola told us she was opening a café in Highland Park, we couldn't have been more excited. It felt like such a fitting and natural progression for her. Not to mention, we could know get in on our favorite recipes of her whenever wanted!
Our friendship has made it all the more inspiring to watch Amara Kitchen grow from a little hole-in-the-wall to a pillar of the neighborhood. Situated in a quiet part of Highland Park, the food, coffee and ambiance bring a steady flow of people all day, filling out the tables inside and on the sidewalk outside. It's a bright, welcoming and comfortable space to enjoy a meal or a cup of coffee. And it's a community space that Paola has opened to serve as a venue for cultural, artistic, and non-profit sharing.
Watching Paola open Amara was also an inspiration for creating Canyon Coffee, and we're sure she's inspired many others as well. Her example demonstrated that with passion, focus and determination you can bring your ideas to life—and they can succeed! Amara was started without an investment deck. Paola and her founding partner, Corrina, pulled ends together to get the door open and the business has been profitable, growing organically from the start.
Paola was supportive of us starting Canyon Coffee. A few months ago, Amara transitioned to using Canyon as their coffee on-bar. Today, guests can enjoy The Alentejo on espresso and drip.
In part to commemorate the occasion, but also to celebrate our friend Paola, we headed to Amara for breakfast on a recent sunny morning and invited our go-to collaborator Justin Chung—who lives in the Amara neighborhood—to join us and take photos.
We hope you enjoy the photos and the interview with Paola:
Do you have a daily ritual?