When it comes to celebrating one of downtown Renton’s most popular spots, not even the teen temperatures could keep people away.
Saturday, Jan. 13, marked the five-year anniversary celebration of Boon Boona Coffee’s flagship cafe in Renton, and with it came an after-hours party that included music from local DJ and host of The Continent on KEXP radio, Lace Cadence, along with special gift packages, wine, beer from local breweries — like Fast Fashion Beer, Renton’s Four Generals Brewing, Hell Bent Brewing, Holy Mountain Brewing and Métier Brewing — and, most importantly, people in the community.
“Tonight is really to just thank the community of support that’s been here with us from the beginning,” said owner Efrem Fesaha. “The cafe has really become like an anchor. I feel like for those that are looking for a place to kind of relax and enjoy ourselves, they just have a space to come and hang out at, whether it’s meetings or whether it’s poetry night, it’s King County Library book reading events, [Boon Boona] has become a space where community is.”
Boon Boona’s welcoming atmosphere and East African coffee stems from Faseha’s Eritrean family. Eritrea is a northeast African country on the Red Sea coast.
“Hospitality is really big piece of our culture,” Faseha said. “And so we wanted to do the same here within our cafe space and that’s what we’ve been striving for.”
Originally, the business began in 2012 with Fesaha sourcing and distributing Ethiopian green coffee beans, which evolved into roasting Ethiopian and Rwandan coffee four years later. Since Fesaha opened Renton’s Boon Boona in 2019, several more cafes have been opened in Seattle’s Capitol Hill, the University of Washington Book Store and on the campuses of Microsoft and Amazon in Redmond.
“I’m very fortunate in having the opportunity to come [to Renton] and to be able to establish a business that’s based off of a culture that I’m born into, but then you know, also really love the history of the culture, coffee, but also hospitality — it’s been super important to me,” said Fesaha.