I spied him as soon as I stepped outside, the precocious toddler barreling through the garden, his mom in pursuit. His baby sister sat on their dad’s lap at a table nearby, soaking up the morning sunshine. You’d never guess that such an idyllic family scene was found in a beer garden.
Yet the beer garden flowed into a vegetable garden, its bounty donated to Ypsilanti Meals on Wheels. And the beer garden is paired with a coffee bar on site, where all profits are invested in local and global gardening programs committed to ending hunger by 2030. This is Cultivate Coffee & Tap House.
Cultivate, per its website, is a nonprofit coffee and tap house “obsessed with having excellent coffee and beer, creating an amazing space for events and groups and our investment in ending hunger.”
Opened last year, Cultivate is located just off Depot Town’s main drag. It boasts two large indoor rooms, replete with picnic tables that patrons share, plus the aforementioned gardens outside. The main interior aisle is navigable by stroller (although the gravel in the gardens might slow strollers). An entire section of Cultivate is dedicated to free kid-friendly games and activities, including board games, building blocks, chunky puzzles, and crayons and paper for scribbling.
Cultivate’s Facebook page and the chalkboard calendar dominating one wall list community meetups and gatherings, such as groups for new moms, knitters, and gardeners.
The food at Cultivate is designed to complement the coffee or beer rather than fill your belly. That said, there are enough choices to satisfy most hankerings. You’ll feel good ordering, too, because all proceeds are invested back into local and global gardening programs.
I picked the Savory Turkey Avocado Apple sandwich ($7) with a latte ($4). My husband chose a Savory Ham and Aged Cheddar sandwich ($7) plus a dark roast Columbian coffee ($4). He added a gingersnap cookie from Zingerman’s bakery ($3).
While there is no kids’ menu, my son, 13, was excited to try the Nutella® and sea salt toast ($5). Other gourmet toast choices include peanut butter with honey or jam, cinnamon sugar, or raspberry ricotta. My daughter, 10, ordered a pretzel with Nutella® ($5). Pretzels are also available plain, or served with hummus or pimento cheese. The kids added a soda and orange juice.
We ate by the board games, playing a game or two. Our coffee was strong, as we like it, and our sandwiches tasty. I liked the tanginess of the apple, cheese and avocado. My son devoured his thick toast slathered with Nutella® while my daughter dipped her sizeable pretzel sticks into the sweet goodness.
After eating we wandered outside, away from the young adults hovering over their laptops inside. The beer garden and food gardens were quiet that morning and this is where we chatted with the young family enjoying the day.
There really is something for everyone at Cultivate. And Cultivate is there for everyone. Although we did not try the beer on our visit, the selection was extensive. Maybe Mom and Dad will lift a pint or two next time.
Cultivate Coffee & Tap House
307 N River St
Ypsilanti, MI 48198
Phone: (734) 249-8993
Hours: Mon-Thurs 8am-11pm;
Fri-Sat 8am-12am; Sun 11am-8pm