At the end of last month, Anwen Cai Baumeister took over Temescal health and natural foods cafe The Well (5443 Telegraph Ave. at 55th Street).
Now, the new owner has launched a crowdfunding campaign so she can reopen the space with an expanded menu and other changes that will make the spot an inclusive community hub.
Previous owner Marielle Amrhein opened The Well in June of 2017 after taking over the space the year before, but decided to close the location six months later.
“It has become clear that I am no longer able to provide the leadership that is needed for the sustainability and thriving of The Well,” Amrhein wrote in an open letter on cafe's website.
She put out a call seeking prospective new owners, and connected with Baumeister through a mutual friend before agreeing to sell earlier this year.
“I will be turning my energies toward tending to my family, but will be continuing to do some medicine making for The Well and support the community events at the space,” wrote Amrhein.
Baumeister said she's excited to begin her new role. “It was really crazy because a year ago I walked in here for the first time not knowing anyone in the space, and the first words that I said when I walked in through that door was ‘Wow, I love this place; I wish I had a place like this one day,’” she said.
Baumeister, who hails from San Rafael, grows culinary and medicinal herbs which will be incorporated into many of the cafe's offerings.
“I realized growing herbs on the farm, that was a really big part of my life and if I didn’t have place to share that passion with folks in a public setting, then it wasn’t fulfilling what I wanted,” she said.
She also has a background in business and cafe culture, having co-opened Key Tea in San Rafael. Baumeister told Hoodline she wants The Well to remain a space that fosters personal and community health, centered around herbalism and traditional knowledge of food. “I’m definitely keeping all those visions,” she said.
New changes include longer hours, including keeping the space open until midnight several days to create “an alternative late night lounge space that’s alcohol free,” she said. She's also planning the city's first kava bar, occasional live music, and tea tastings and ceremonies.
Baumeister said she also plans to introduce "karma bowls" and "karma drinks," a rotating menu of pay-what-you-can items intended to make health and wellness more accessible. Karma meals will consist of a nutritionally balanced bowl with rice, vegetables and a protein with sauce, plus a drink item.
According to an Indiegogo page, she's already invested $90,000 of her own money and is seeking $24,000 to cover a cold case for grab-and-go items, a stage and PA system, expanded indoor and outdoor seating, an indoor living wall, and other additions.
“In the knowledge that Temescal is a highly gentrified area and understanding what The Well’s impact can be with the social environment, I’m really committed to making this place as successful for all people as possible,” said Baumeister.
The Well is located at 5443 Telegraph Avenue and will reopen August 1. Tentative hours are 9 a.m. midnight Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Saturday and from 9 a.m. – 9 p.m on Sunday.
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