Kulture Café Is Harriman’s Hotspot for Books, Beverages, and Bites

Kulture Café serves up Caribbean eats, high-quality coffees and teas, and bestselling books from its chic storefront in Orange County.

Kulture Café is Harriman’s hidden gem. It doesn’t fit squarely into one box—it’s a café, bookstore, and eatery offering Caribbean patties, tapas, pastries, and other small bites. It’s a stylish sanctuary where folks from all walks of life can meet, refuel, and read. In short, it’s precisely what the area needs.

There are very few coffee shops near Kulture Café, and practically no bookstores. “We look at Kulture Café as our version of a modernized Barnes & Noble,” says Destiny Vargas, whose mother, Aidalene Suarez, co-owns the café with her partner, Hasely Logan. “However, our concept is different. We are hands-on and interactive with our customers. We are for the culture, the community, the kids, and—most importantly—the education.” The café often hosts author talks and community events centered on the arts and youth literacy. Kulture Café’s selection of books includes everything from science fiction and self-help to children’s literature and literary criticism; plus, its used books section comprises an assortment of affordable bestsellers.

The café opened in January of 2022, but has been in the works as long as Vargas can remember. “Kulture Café started off as an idea that my mom had when I was a child. She used to take me to [the bookstore] with her to finish all her paperwork, and so I could read and complete my homework,” she recalls. “We wanted to bring something educational, valuable, and fun to our community while showcasing a little bit of our culture and heritage.”

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Hailing from Puerto Rico and Trinidad, Suarez, Logan, and their family have imbued Kulture Café with their Caribbean heritage via the books they select, the music they play, and the patties and tapas they serve. The Caribbean patties currently come in nine varieties—beef, chicken, salmon, lentil, pumpkin, split pea, plantain, spinach, and jackfruit—meaning there are plenty of options for vegetarians and meat-eaters alike. Tapas like the hummus pita with mixed lettuce, grape tomatoes, and paprika oil; avocado pita; and yogurt parfait with strawberries and granola are just as tantalizing. If you stop by in the a.m., be sure to pair your coffee drink with a bagel or pastry—the lemon-lavender scone is our personal favorite.

And when it comes to java, well, this ain’t your momma’s coffee shop—unless you’re Scarlet, Suarez’s daughter, who serves as the café’s barista extraordinaire. She crafts all the standard hot and cold coffee drinks with premium beans, plus a range of creative specialty lattes infused with flavors like s’mores, maple oat, toasted coconut, and Nutella. If coffee isn’t your thing, Kulture Café also boasts a lengthy list of teas, hot and cold chocolate, and refreshing fruity concoctions like the peach-mango cold brew.

Though only in its second year of operation, Kulture Café has already become a cornerstone in the community and plans to continue expanding with new menu items and events in the coming months. “None of us fully knew what to expect or what we were really diving into,” Vargas admits. “However, the transformation has been so beautiful. It feels empowering when guests truly appreciate what we have here.”

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