Empanadas and coffee – an undeniably delicious combination!
Cafe Pequeno is a fairly new addition to the bohemian Kallio district – and it’s pretty hard to miss! Vibrant outdoor umbrellas with multi-colored chairs are enticing, while the interior is bright, warm and inviting. Here you will find lovely, locally-sourced coffee served with a friendly smile – along with other delicacies like: traditional Mate (south american tea), carrot cupcakes, alfajores and salty cashew fudge. In addition to that, Cafe Pequeno offers a fantastic breakfast and brunch – with fresh ingredients – from a simple, small kitchen.
This versatile cafe also shares it’s space with a salon and beauty center, which is sure to boost your experience! Having the option to sip on great coffee whilst being beautified is a pleasurable pairing — a royal pairing.
Over a light breakfast bowl of granola, berries and yogurt, I got to speaking with the owner, Urito. Here’s what he has to say about life in Helsinki as a cafe owner:
ML: What’s the story of Pequeno?
U: We had a kioski in the city before we opened here in Kallio. I was not heavily into coffee a while back, I used to only drink tea. I thought Finnish coffee was pretty bitter and lacked flavor. After running the cafe and realizing how much coffee people consume in Finland, I saw how to make it taste better. I love the social aspect of running a cafe – sharing food and drinks with people is what I love to do. The feeling of community is great!
ML: What about the idea of Cafe Pequeno? Conceptually?
U: Conceptually, we just wanted to create a place where people gather to feel good. The concept was to hold the aspects of Finnish minimalism with a vibrant touch! Kallio itself is densely populated – it’s a place people migrate for work. It’s a place people live, and it’s also a popular place to eat and drink. We have picked a great location – it has an “away from the center” feel, however, it’s easy to find.
ML: Please tell me about the coffee? I don’t know extensive details about the process…
We source our coffee locally, and from some specialty farms. I appreciate the process of coffee – from cherry to bean to roast. There is a scale that “specialty” coffee follows in order to be called “specialty,” and the beans go through quite a process. We have respect for the coffee and the process it goes through to get to our customers. The trending coffee right now seems to be dark roast. It’s what we offer in our morning cup! It has a richness and sweetness to it, giving the coffee layers of flavor.
ML: Tell me more about the beauty treatments within the establishment!
U: We offer various massages (sports) and beauty treatments (facials), ecological products, manicures/pedicures, eyelash extensions, and the list goes on. We are a family business which reinforces the sense of community I would like to have – the sense of learning new things – and discovering the neighborhood. The clients are taken care of with proper customer service. We want people to feel comfortable to ask about products and services, and we want to provide some intimacy within our walls.
ML: What do you love about Helsinki?
U: I love that you can really do what you want, but you gotta push for it. You can accomplish anything with the right level of activeness. I love that Helsinki is urban with a relaxed atmosphere…there’s a feeling of privacy. There’s a lot of passion happening in Helsinki right now – people pushing for the best. Not only in the cafe scene, but the restaurant scene as well. It’s exciting! If you don’t take risks, then that’s limiting – and it kills inspiration. Finding and capturing the soul of your own establishment is important to me!
If you have an insatiable appetite for good coffee prepared by good people, then this is your place. It was an absolute pleasure speaking to Urito, and discovering the diversity, culture and community within this little district of Helsinki. There’s not much more I want in a cafe, and gracias for bringing some Latin flare to Kallio!
While in the Neighborhood