The Ministry is a coffee and wine bar concept founded by sister-team Elisa and Lourdes (Lulu) Bennaton. Inspired by early memories of long conversations and home cooking with her abuelita, Elisa had a strong desire to create a space that is meant to be unrushed and shift the focus to great company and quality food, coffee and wine. While Lulu has a solid communications background, Elisa has extensive business experience, a culinary degree from Le Cordon Bleu and management expertise in food and hospitality from when she lived in London.
Our coffee and wine bar is located at 601 New Jersey Avenue NW in East End DC, nestled within the beautiful landmarks of Union Station, Capitol Hill and Georgetown Law. We will serve coffee from local roaster, Ceremony Coffee Roasters and thoughtfully selected wines from all over the world, accompanied by internationally inspired baked goods, small plates, and meals.
AN ATYPICAL COFFEEHOUSE AND WINE BAR
At The Ministry, we celebrate the rituals of coffee and wine that bookend our days; the traditions that fuel our lives in work and play. Coffee and wine are intrinsically connected to the earth and the people who grow it, but are turned into conversations and memories around a table. Our space is dedicated to everyone who lives and works locally and those that have journeyed from afar, who currently call DC their home.
We are cool, casual, playful, chic and unafraid of being different. We have combined our heritage and European influences to create a space that is vibrant, friendly and a little stylish demonstrating that exceptional coffee and wine can also have topnotch service and design.
Whether it's taking you somewhere you have never been before or revisiting a place that rekindles great memories, we’d like to take you there and make you part of our journey.
Construction is underway at our new home with our soft opening scheduled for end of June 2018! But we need your help to finish the final touches.
We have raised most of the money we need through private investment, but we are looking to the 'glocal' community to help us with the final opening expenses. Our crowdfunding goal is to raise an additional $15,000 to cover the costs of our patio, local mural artist and the finishing touches that will truly make The Ministry a neighborhood institution.
We have put a great deal of thought to creating different rewards for your support. Our perks are fun, practical and have been thoughtfully created for you to enjoy and become part of our community's lifestyle. Prizes range from custom designed art prints, coffee mugs, t-shirts (see below), and unique tasting experiences, to running you own secret code day.
Beyond being practical and beautiful our rewards also help fund projects that address issues close to our heart. The CreatedCo, our coffee wares supplier donates a portion of profits to help bring clean water to those in need around the world, while our collaborating partner District Mugs works to empower the homeless in Washington DC.
We’ve already had lots of great buzz and our neighbors and friends are highly anticipating our opening.
Risks and challenges
While there are risks with any new venture, founder and co-owner Elisa has many years of hospitality industry experience, her sister/co-owner, Lulu, is a solid sounding board and they have sought counsel from professionals in all areas of the project. We’ve worked with an experienced team of designers, branding experts, contractors, coffee roasters, and chefs in the city (along with many others) to ensure that no detail has been forgotten.
The biggest risks for us now are a) not being able to provide the community with the additional option of outdoor seating, which would in turn diminish the number of guests who can experience our offerings and b) limiting the project's finish touches, leaving us with a space that isn’t quite as thoughtful or that resonates with the brand we have worked hard to create.
While we already have our Landlord’s blessing for outdoor seating the biggest challenges for The Ministry are covering additional design fees, contractor expenses, permit fees and getting those additional permits submitted. The timeframe for most permit approval in the District is usually long, while training all the staff to open a restaurant. Training takes lots of time and energy while the bills keep piling up, as any restaurateur can tell you.
Should we not reach our campaign goal we will have to wait until we’re generating revenue and are up and running to submit our permits to the District. This means our patrons may not experience our offerings on our patio until the end of the year. It would be regretful to miss sitting outside during some of the loveliest times of the year like end of summer and fall, which truly make the nations' capital an enjoyable place.
We are counting on our friends, neighbors and this campaign to support us as we get these final details settled to continue on the right foot. We’ve gained lots of trust in our project already, and we hope we can gain yours too!
We'd like to take this opportunity to especially thank Chhorvy Ly, Oyku Hannah, Jemar Souza, Ciji Wagner, Ceremony Coffee Roasters, Ronnie Haas, Jamila Rowser, Vinny Mwano, District Mugs, Erissa Mann, our family, old friends, new friends and soon to be friends (across the world) for the unconditional support they have given us to make this dream a reality.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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