Good Brotha’s serves culture with coffee

Patrons can social distance easily in the warm and inviting space of Good Brotha’s Book Cafe at 1419 N. 3rd St. in Harrisburg.

The sun is shining, the air feels wonderful, and it’s a perfect day to stop by Good Brotha’s Book Cafe at 1419 N. 3rd St. in Harrisburg for one of the specially roasted and blended coffees. Stefan Hawkins opened the cafe almost two months ago not coincidentally on Jan. 18 — Martin Luther King Day. “The book shop started just for a place of inspiration and community impact because there weren’t any black-owned coffee shop establishments in this area,” Hawkins said.

“It is a safe space for ideas and thoughts, moreso for the community and the city,” he said. “I incorporated the books to push the idea of education and literacy to the youth. I find books that showcase the African American part of our country in a good light.”

Hawkins stresses, however, that Good Brotha’s welcomes any and all. “This space is for everybody. … It’s inclusive,” he said. “Anybody can come in and gain some knowledge about our community that’s better than what you see on TV.”

Currently, coffee beans are roasted in California, but Hawkins is working to partner with a local roaster to be able to get more of what he wants in-house. “It is my brand, but they roast the beans for me based upon my profile and blend that I choose,” he explained of his Fifth Acres Coffee. “The name came from the city. I grew up uptown on Fifth Street and I was born out of the southside of Harrisburg in Hall Manor. The coffee name is one that the city can be proud of once it takes off and gets a little notoriety.”

Hawkins lovingly speaks of his book selection, which he says is about to grow even larger. “I got my distribution access. Now I’m recognized around the country as a bookseller, so I can get more books in. I can buy more books in bulk.” 

Good Brotha’s was not Hawkins’ first venture. He briefly co-owned House of Vegans, located just across the street from Good Brotha’s at 1426 N. 3rd St., but financial issues — some of it possibly Covid related — brought at least a temporary closure in February until a new location for the vegan soul food spot can be found.

The cafe is open M-F 7 a.m.-3:30 p.m., Saturdays 8 a.m.-3 p.m. and Sundays 9 a.m.-3 p.m.