116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — At Kismet Coffee & Bloom, you can wake up with your coffee as you smell the roses.
The new venture combines the passions of Maya Gonlubol and Jeremiah Kasner in a business that fills the former Dostal House in NewBo, 1000 Third St. SE, with new warmth.
With robust experience in Cedar Rapids cafes, fine dining and floristry, the young couple’s first business is a return to their roots after they first met in a coffee shop. Their love of coffee started after meeting at Brewhemia in high school. They married in May 2020.
Now, their vision together is coming to life.
“It’s become a thing for us, to go to the coffee shops and enjoy being part of that community. When the vibe is intentional, coherent and delicious, it’s pretty changing,” said Kasner, 23. “Coffee is a drug, so there’s necessity behind it. But when you go to a place that’s intentional, it’s more than a drug — it’s an experience and routine.”
What: Kismet Coffee & Bloom
Where: 1000 Third St. SE, Cedar Rapids
Hours: 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday to Sunday; 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday; closed Tuesday.
Details: Both flowers and coffee can be ordered online, including Bloom and Brew subscriptions that deliver coffee and flowers to your door every month
As the couple fell in love, spending $4 on a latte every couple days would make them feel like they were living, rather than surviving — even if they couldn’t afford the new couch they wanted.
“The simple things can make you feel more valuable than the world pays you,” Kasner said. “A coffee shop or flower shop can do that.”
Shirking the pretentious or egotistical stereotypes of specialty coffee, the couple want Kismet to be a place of luxury that’s accessible for everyone.
“That started the vision of what we wanted to curate,” Kasner said. “Be a community and be accepting for literally everyone and do that in a way that’s accessible for everyone.”
On the coffee side, Kismet displays the finer things like $5 espresso shots. Kasner, who has worked his way up through various ranks at Caucho, Lightworks Cafe, Cobble Hill, Cafe St. Pio and Dash, said the difference between a quality espresso and a harsh one is much more dramatic than the difference between an expensive coffee and a cheap one.
Specialty drinks will include the Cr*nch Berry Day, an espresso in oat milk steeped with the iconic Cedar Rapids-made cereal, cereal milk, and cereal garnish for texture.
Kasner said the drink reflects a larger part of their story and their mission: to cultivate community.
“We saw a lot of our friends and all these cool, interesting people who might feel more comfortable in a bigger city leave,” he said. “Cedar Rapids is important enough to us that we want to stay here and continue to develop the community that so many people are developing.”
It also reflects their mission to make anyone’s day a little better, because “the best day in Cedar Rapids is when Quaker Oats is making Crunch Berries.”
In addition to specialties, Kismet also will offer unique seasonal drinks. This fall, they’re making a splash with their pumpkin sesame latte, which uses tahini for a rich, savory flavor.
“It’s every part of Thanksgiving meal wrapped up into one drink,” Gonlubol said.
Though they do not roast their beans in house yet, Kasner plans to within about six months. For now, the cafe uses Onyx Coffee Lab’s coffee.
Gonlubol, will offer a curated flower bar, in addition to bouquets at various price points and custom work, for those looking for something special. See a stem you like? Pluck it out and take it home without the need for a full bouquet.
For the last two and a half years, the florist has worked for Roots and Blooms in Marion. There, she put to work her background in fine public art. Out of the front window of their new shop, she can see the Humans of Cedar Rapids mural she worked on in high school on the side of what is now The Bohemian.
Upstairs, a cozy second level has been transformed into a vintage-inspired seating area and floral work area. There, patrons can sip on their coffee and watch bouquets being made.
“People wonder what goes on in a flower shop because most of the time, the design area is so far removed from where the public can be,” said Gonlubol, 22. “I think it’ll be cool to show everything that goes into it.”
In many flower shops, that area is considered a “holy space” out of view of customers, she said.
With an artistic background in various mediums, Gonlubol’s fine art style draws heavy inspiration from pop art. Her floral work features colors that pop and sculptural elements.
“Andy Warhol is a huge inspiration,” she said, with several Warhol pieces scattered around the house, including an Andy Warhol original. “I think mixing those things with the old bespoke style of floristry is a beautiful combination. It’s nice to see a mix between modern and delicate Victorian styles.”
Kismet will offer monthly flower and coffee subscriptions.
Dostal House to Kismet
Before its transformation into a coffee house and flower shop, the house at 1000 Third St. SE in the New Bohemia District was The Dostal House. Originally built in 1910 and renovated after the flood of 2008, it was transformed into a retail and coworking space for women by 2018.
As it was turned into an incubator for entrepreneurs, it was named by owner Meegan Hofmeister after its first owners.
Retail space on the first floor showcased products like apparel and cosmetics, while the upper floor had desks for every woman who used the coworking space.
The space took on a whole new vibe with a little bit of paint and some perhaps reluctant handy work as the couple built the long counter for the coffee shop.
“It’s been a learning experience because we’re not handy people, but we learn as we go,” Gonlubol said with a laugh.
The shop was named after the word for destiny — kismet — which has Turkish origins.
“Kismet is serendipity, meant to be,” she said. “We’ve wanted to do this since we were teenagers. Every step of the way has been a little bit kismet.”
After watching the neighborhood change and thinking they’d never be able to afford a spot in the now trendy part of town, Kismet was their kismet.
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