Local restaurant owner pleads for help, and the response overwhelms her

Cafe 1610 co-founders (l-r) Molly Blackshear, Xtine Brean and Cathy Mong in the vegan restaurant that opened in September 2020 on Wayne Avenue in Dayton. A Facebook post by Brean seeking support for the restaurant has generated an overwhelming response, the founders said Jan. 9, 2021. Photograph by Skip Peterson
Cafe 1610 co-founders (l-r) Molly Blackshear, Xtine Brean and Cathy Mong in the vegan restaurant that opened in September 2020 on Wayne Avenue in Dayton. A Facebook post by Brean seeking support for the restaurant has generated an overwhelming response, the founders said Jan. 9, 2021. Photograph by Skip Peterson

Credit: Skip Peterson

Credit: Skip Peterson

‘If it sounds like I’m begging -- I kinda am,’ Cafe 1610 co-owner writes on post that goes viral

Cafe 1610 co-founder Xtine Brean didn’t know what to expect last week when she issued a simple Facebook plea for help for the vegan restaurant that she and two business partners opened four months ago in Dayton.

The response was overwhelming.

“I’m an owner of Dayton’s only all-vegan café, and we are struggling for real,” Brean wrote on her personal Facebook page on Jan. 4. “I really could use some support! If you’re vegan or ever just wondered how good vegan food could be, won’t you please give us a try. (If it sounds like I’m begging.....i kinda am).”

The post was shared nearly 8,000 times — a staggering number, especially for a post on a private Facebook page. It received more than 1,100 “likes” and 1,300 comments.

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The viral post also generated a surge in business last week — a surge that Brean told this news outlet she and her fellow restaurant owners were not prepared for.

“The last four days have been a complete struggle, and we’ve had to turn away business because we haven’t been able to add staff fast enough,” Brean said. “Our staff members and three owners are completely exhausted but extremely happy with the direction the post has taken us. We’ve been completely overwhelmed by the community’s response and only hope we can live up to their expectations.”

Brean had previously operated a local vegan food truck, Om Nom Mobile Cafe. The other co-founders of the restaurant at 521 Wayne Ave. are Molly Blackshear and Blackshear’s mother, Cathy Mong.

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“Don’t get it wrong — we’re ecstatic at the increase in orders coming in to our little café,” Mong said. “But it has been an overwhelming experience, and we hope, first and foremost, that anyone not receiving the very best service try to understand this is way beyond anything we’re experienced since opening Sept. 5, and we’re doing what we can to offer a great experience.”

Blackshear said, “It’s been a rewarding and humbling experience. You have to have real passion for something like this or you wouldn’t get out of bed in the morning knowing what you’re headed in for!”

Cafe 1610 operates out of the market-style space called the District Provisions building, also known as the Dietz Block building, which was built in 1886 at Wayne Avenue and Jones Street. The restaurant closed its dining room five weeks ago to focus solely on carryout, curbside pickup and delivery.

Mong said she and her Cafe 1610 co-founders “love Dayton and all our regular and new customers, and we hope they continue to support us.”

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