Chris Murphy and Joe Keppler, co-owners and husbands, knew from the beginning Lakewood would be where they called home and started their small business. Part coffeehouse, part crêperie, and part antique collectible store, Brewella's has become a Lakewood staple and it’s easy to see why. This little café does it all - whether you’re in the mood for something savory, something sweet, something to drink, or something to collect. I sat down with Chris to learn more about their inspiration and vision for Brewella's Coffee, Crepes & Collectibles.
Haley Mills: What led you to start Brewella’s?
Chris Murphy: My husband came up with this idea for a coffee shop space where it was very reminiscent of an old-grandma-cozy house and we also knew from traveling around that crepes were an awesome addition to any boardwalk or little small strip of town, so that was something we wanted to put in there, too. We really wanted to make a space that felt cozy and felt like home for you to come with a friend and have color and movement and creativity surrounding you while you had something to eat and drink. We also knew that coffee and crepes were a great canvas to do a lot of fun tongue and cheek recipes and names like we've been doing for all of our seasonal stuff.
HM: What led you to pick Lakewood and the specific location in Lakewood?
CM: We own a house in Lakewood, we love the city. Joe grew up in Parma, and I grew up out of state in New York. But coming to visit before we actually bought the house, he would always bring me to Lakewood and talk about the small businesses and I was actually visiting while they were fixing the park and the high school, so we were just seeing how much the community put back into itself and how much the community supports small businesses. We knew we wanted to both live here and when we decided to do this, we knew we wanted it to be another part of Lakewood. Just to kind of be a part of the Lakewood small business story was really important and energizing to us. We saw the west side of Madison that we are on, and we knew it wasn't quite as developed as the middle/main part of Madison but we knew Lakewood is so densely populated with a lot of people, we knew there was room for that side to grow. We saw a few businesses that had popped up within the last couple of years doing really nice jobs with their storefronts, and we thought it was a great opportunity to have a bit of a new destination spot in the town but still be a part of the whole picture. It’s nice to bring another part of the city to people who might not know of or have traveled there for any reason. We knew that other people had the idea too, and we would love to be a part of kind of the uprising of that side of the street. Madison is so cool, I’ve never seen anything quite like it from where I grew up and to even just some of the surrounding cities here, just such a long street with so many small businesses and so much character.
HM: What is your favorite coffee drink that you serve?
CM: So far… the Fa La La Latte is my favorite. What we’ve been lucky to be able to start doing with some of our baristas is make our own syrups in house and I had never really been a flavored coffee drinker but they’ve always been a bit stronger at other places. All of our seasonal drinks have been awesome. I’ve been drinking them so much, I didn’t even know I liked coffee that much. We’re working on trying to get our own signature latte that's always in house. I’m really excited for every new season change because those have been really great so far.
HM: Aside from Brewella’s, what's your favorite spot in Cleveland?
CM: I think Brewnuts is such a great spot. When we were talking about our vision, going into Brewnuts and seeing how they just had so much fun decorating the inside and the same type of color and movement and doing something completely their vision was something that was very inspiring to us as well. I love Harlow's in Lakewood. I think they did an awesome job, we actually ended up using the same contractor because walking in we saw how nice they had redone the space and just the transformation itself was just so cool. It gives you a nice comfort that other people are doing this too. Between those two, that's probably where Joe and I go the most.
HM: On the same note, what is your favorite place to grab lunch?
CM: Does Barrio count as lunch? They aren’t always open for lunch.
HM: Yes, of course.
CM: Definitely Barrio, and Barrio is one where seeing how they have grown and how people respond to the brand and the food truck even is kind of like a goals type thing for us to see. A company like that who is its own entity and its so Cleveland based and now it's such a staple of Cleveland. I know when people come from out of town that's somewhere I always bring them. The food is so good, the inside is so unique, and it's always just a win! You see even the murals on the walls - that must have taken so much time - but it's so worth it because it's so energizing and moving when you're in there. Every time you go in you're finding a new little thing on the big murals and it’s cool art. Aside from the good food and the drinks which are awesome, being in a space like that is always fun to me.
HM: Is there anything else you want people to know about Brewella’s?
CM: Our biggest thing that we want people to know, especially with the holiday seasons, is the shop is always changing and there's always something new to see. With the collectibles that we’re selling - we always want there to be a chance for you to take a little bit of it home, or a little more of a story later on.
Decorating for Christmas, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day - it is always going to be something new when you come in - something new for you to see or something new to show someone else and that's what we always want. You feel like you're home but you're comfortable enough to look around and just be in the moment in the space and have a good time.