Monday, April 23, 2018
News Roundup

Downtown Tampa's Portico Cafe opens to customers while offering opportunities

TAMPA

Tampa java lovers now have a new place to satisfy their coffee cravings – and help the homeless with each cup.

After more than a year of planning and construction, The Portico Café is now open. It's the latest addition to the Portico campus, which is an outreach ministry of Hyde Park United Methodist Church.

Church leaders invited the community for a peek at the new space on May 5.

The café is an example of the church's vision that The Portico be a place that fosters important conversation, offers a connection to the community, and facilitates change, said campus director Rev. Justin LaRosa.

"We said we can create that and we can create something with a mission," he said.

The café was a winner with both patrons and local leaders.

Garrett Scott, an assistant manager at the Metro 510 complex across the street, said he's certain the café will be a regular morning stop for him.

"I think it's beautiful," he said. "It gives the feel of a Starbucks with a local niche, which I like."

Mayor Bob Buckhorn called this latest business opening in the booming downtown Tampa corridor "a ribbon-cutting with a purpose."

"It is a church that understands they have to take their message outside the walls of the church," he said. "It's a win-win all the way around."

Like its peers, the café offers a wide selection of hot and cold coffee drinks such as lattes, cappuccinos, and iced mochas. Smoothies and sandwiches also are available for purchase. A bright and airy open concept layout offers visitors a choice of meeting with friends at one of the high tables or snuggling alone with a book in a cushioned chair.

The difference lies in the café's mission: each purchase supports the Portico's homeless initiatives. And all of the baristas are hired through local nonprofit agencies like DACCO and Metropolitan Ministries.

Extending a "shot" or second chance to folks who are recovering from drug additions or homelessness is a critical part of the café's purpose, LaRosa said.

Equally important was offering healthcare and paying a livable wage, said café manager Gregory Balo.

Baristas earn $13.50 an hour. That includes a base pay of $9 and tips estimated at $4 an hour.

If the amount of tips falls short, the church makes up the difference, ensuring that each employee receives their per hour wage, he said.

Balo, who's managed cafes for a decade, said such an incentive is a win for both the café and employees.

Paying a livable wage helps staff feel valued and "helps retain employees a little better," he said.

Sterling Schulte, a barista, was working at a sandwich shop prior to signing on with The Portico Café.

The pay was low at her old job and Schulte said she really didn't have a future there.

Now, she's making more money and having her own apartment is within reach, Schulte said.

Schulte admits she was nervous about taking the job at the café because of its connection to the church. But she's found the family-like environment has been a great help as she goes through methadone detox.

"It's a great support network," she said. "I want to be a better person working here."

Contact Kenya Woodard at [email protected]

     
Comments
Lightning Round 2 playoff tickets on sale Monday

Lightning Round 2 playoff tickets on sale Monday

Single-game tickets for the Lightning's Eastern Conference semifinal series go on sale to the general public at 1 p.m. Monday at nhl.com/lightning/tickets.The Lightning plays the winner of the Bruins-Maple Leafs series. Game 6 of that series is Monda...
Updated: 5 hours ago
How Baker Mayfield can benefit the Bucs

How Baker Mayfield can benefit the Bucs

TAMPA — The buzz surrounding this year's NFL draft is a class of talented quarterbacks deep enough to challenge the record six taken in the first round in 1983, a group that included future Hall of Famers John Elway, Jim Kelly and Dan Marino.Th...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Andrei Vasilevskiy and the universal language of playoff hockey

Andrei Vasilevskiy and the universal language of playoff hockey

TAMPA — As usual, Andrei Vasilevskiy didn't speak in front of the cameras after the game. He has been like that since he hit the NHL. He still isn't comfortable with his English on TV.But Vasilevskiy spoke loudly and clearly in the first-round ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Rays are suddenly swinging hot bats, but will it last?

Rays are suddenly swinging hot bats, but will it last?

ST. PETERSBURG — Good pitching and hitting go hand in glove, but the Rays did not look like a team that could swing the bats very well until this completed homestand.In their series sweep over the Twins, Tampa Bay scored 8, 10 and 8 runs. ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Rick Stroud’s takeaways from Rays-Twins

Rick Stroud’s takeaways from Rays-Twins

–Yonny Chirinos may be the Rays fourth starter, but it seems to be in name only. He was lifted after pitching 4 2/3 innings against the Twin on Sunday, the shortest start of his career and his second-shortest appearance.  "Going into the g...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Rays’ Carlos Gomez hits two-run walkoff homer to beat Twins for series sweep

Rays’ Carlos Gomez hits two-run walkoff homer to beat Twins for series sweep

ST. PETERSBURG — With every swing, there is a chance Carlos Gomez is going to do something extraordinary with the baseball bat.He may swing so violently that he spins himself into the ground as if he were an oil drill. Or, you could see him sna...
Updated: 8 hours ago

nationwideTravelers face delays as jet engines inspectedScores of Southwest Airlines travelers were facing delays or cancellations Sunday due to emergency inspections following the mid-air explosion of an engine on one of the airline’s 737s last week...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Waffle House hero says shooter would’ve had ‘to work to kill me’; another crude Theta Tau frat video surfaces at Syracuse; more in U.S. news

Waffle House hero says shooter would’ve had ‘to work to kill me’; another crude Theta Tau frat video surfaces at Syracuse; more in U.S. news

TennesseeShooter had ‘to work to kill me’The man who wrestled the gun away from the nearly naked Waffle House shooter in Nashville said Sunday if he were going to die, the gunman would "have to work to kill me." Police and Waffle House CEO Walter Ehm...
Updated: 8 hours ago

Lottery resultsNumbers drawn after 9 p.m. are no longer available by our deadlines. For results, please go to tampabay.com/lottery.Pick 2, 3, 4, 5Sun., April 22, midday:2-2 7-3-9 4-4-6-8e_SRit3-8-8-6-0Sun., April 22, evening:6-2 8-6-0 8-3-9-8e_SR...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Islamic State suicide bomber kills 57 in Afghan capital

Islamic State suicide bomber kills 57 in Afghan capital

Associated PressKABUL, Afghanistan — An Islamic State suicide bomber carried out an attack at a voter registration center in the capital Kabul on Sunday, killing 57 people and wounding more than 100 others, said officials from the Afghan interior and...
Updated: 9 hours ago