Lowry Ave. is home to new healthy meal and happy hour spot
Many of the ingredients in New Rules Cafe and Spirits' menu items are locally sourced, giving the food a a fresh and health-focused feel. Left: the ahi tuna salad is made with a mix of greens and coconut wasabi dressing. Right: the tuna melt is a customer favorite. Photos by Kenzie O'Keefe
By Abdi Mohamed Staff Reporter
With much anticipation, New Rules Cafe and Spirits is now open to the public serving an assortment of fresh meals, pressed juices and hand-crafted cocktails on Lowry Ave. The cafe held a soft launch on Aug. 3 and its grand opening on Aug. 24 during ITS Fest, a block party partnered by the communal marketplace NEW RULES (NR).
Chris Webley operates NR, which also serves as an event venue and creative co-working space. Webley hopes the new libations will bring more people in. He also plans to utilize the food to address growing health concerns in the black community. Some of the options on the menu include “Respect your Roots,” a drink that helps with high blood pressure and others that serve as educational pieces for customers.
Many of the items served on the menu have a lot of crossover. With about 50 ingredients, Webley wants to offer his customers a variety of fresh options but also wants to take a lean approach to running the cafe. As for sourcing these ingredients, Webley draws from local businesses such as North Market and Good Deal Oriental Foods.
Although the cafe is another venture for Webley under his NR umbrella, he plans to open the space to other food entrepreneurs and currently has a call for collaborators listed on his website. As the café begins to bring in business, Webley sees it as an opportunity to pass on lessons to others launching their own ventures. “We want to transition food back to the community in some type of ownership form,” Webley said. “We felt like we had to do it out the gate to learn the ropes and where the potential pitfalls are.” Currently, Webley is looking for people to fill weekend slots who can provide brunch and dinner options on Saturday and Sunday.
Now that the cafe is open, the focus has shifted to getting the word out. NR has enjoyed support from outside of the Northside but wants to draw more customers from the local community. “We really want to create a Northside base,” Webley said. “It’s great that folks come in from outside the neighborhood, [but] there’s definitely a local base that’s willing to support us.”
NR is continuing to take in new members as a shared workspace. Webley says the space is in its final phases in functionality. “The bike has been built, now it’s time to ride it,” he said.