Travel these days is all but impossible, but for Brooklynites looking to go to Brazil, just follow the smell of coffee and fresh bread to the corner of Patchen Ave. and Macon St. in Bed-Stuy.
Tucum serves delightful Brazilian café fare and has artisanal jewelry, clothing, art and plants for sale in its indoor and outdoor spaces. Free WiFi is set up for workers, but with a one-hour limit the spot is more about good vibes and get-togethers.
The airy, living-room-like café doubles as event space for free and low-cost community programs like movie nights, music performances, clothing swaps, live drawing and chess for children.
The community programs hosted in the café are essential to its mission, owner Sid Matos told BK Reader. “It’s about building community with our neighbors.”
The café gets its name and philosophy from a palm tree from the Amazon jungle in Brazil, Matos said.
“It’s the main fiber Amazonian people used to make clothes.
“The fiber of the palm leaves weave and fuse together, similar to hemp. I think there is a message in that — we are better when we are connected.”
Prior to moving to Brooklyn, Matos lived in the Amazon jungle in Brazil, where he operated a restaurant and hotel in a national park for visitors. There, he used his business to spark conversations with guests about how to be ethical consumers.
Matos opened Tucum with a similar purpose — to create something beautiful for the neighborhood and promote a culture of environmental and social stewardship. The events Tucum hosts often have a sustainability slant or support local makers.
“I don’t want to have a restaurant where it is food only,” Matos said. “I want to have interactions. I want to exchange information. I want to create a community space.
“I want to take care of people.”
Taking care of people extends beyond the walls of the café for Matos. The café strives for measurable environmental, social and financial sustainability through ethical supply chain partnerships, as well as environmentally and socially responsible business practices, Matos says.
And more than that — drinking coffee is a way of life for Matos. He said coffee was what brought people together, which is his ultimate mission.
Matos hopes to create a lasting cultural space that celebrates and showcases what makes Bed-Stuy so unique — the people who live there.
“I just love Bed-Stuy,” he said. “My neighbors — I have a big commitment to them.”
Matos said the events were well attended and many of his neighbors had even offered to help coordinate events and beautify Tucum.
“People here are thirsty for community,” Matos said. “That’s why people respond well to the project of Tucum. I just want to help people as much as I can.”
Tucum is open 9:00am to 5:00pm Tuesday-Friday and 10:00am to 5:00pm Saturday-Monday.
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