Small business Monday – focus on Woodlawn Cycle Cafe

Birmingham AL
Does unique cuisine come to mind when you think of Woodlawn?  If not, do yourself a favor and go check out the Woodlawn Cycle Café.  But don’t just take our word for it.  Armand Margjeka talks about his vision for neighborhood eats and drinks in this week’s edition of Small Business Monday.
Birmingham AL, business
Armand Margjeka, owner of Woodlawn Cycle Café. Photo via Kristina O’Quinn for Bham Now

I am the owner of Woodlawn Cycle Cafe, located at 5530 1st Ave S., and have lived in Birmingham for ten years.  We opened in January 2016 and have a great team of employees.  Even though we’ve been through transitions we’ve had some amazing people work here.
photo via Kristina O’Quinn for Bham Now
Our philosophy from the beginning has been to serve great quality coffee, a well thought out beer and wine selection, locally sourced produce and everything as fresh as possible and as much as possible made in-house.  We focus on simple but great recipes  and chefs that have come and gone have left some amazing things for us to continue serving.
Birmingham AL
Barista, Jason Simons, crafts coffee drinks with precision. Photo via Kristina O’Quinn for Bham Now
Our food menu changes seasonally but it mostly focuses on a small selection of breakfast and lunch items involving a range anywhere from traditional ingredients to super healthy alternatives.  We also take baking pretty seriously so our pastry case is full and fresh everyday with sweet, savory and vegan options.  Every month we’ll have a food party featuring different culinary styles. One of our parties featured dishes from the Basque region in Spain.  The space has also been used for special events etc.
Pumpkin Chai muffins – photo via Kristina O’Quinn for Bham Now
I think perhaps one thing to get used to for some folks were the boquerones.  They are traditional anchovies from north Spain.
We’re really excited about our fall menu.  The mussels with saffron sauce are a must have.
photo via Kristina O’Quinn for Bham Now
I love the opportunity to be a part of a movement that brings life into the neighborhood.  I grew up in third world communist Albania in a very rural town and when anyone opened up a shop or a cafe in our town I would light up as a kid because to me  it meant our town mattered or something like that.
photo via Kristina O’Quinn for Bham Now
I want people to know that everything we do here comes from a good place in our hearts and we may not always get it right but we work really hard to keep quality in every aspect of the business from the design to the cleanliness to the food and drinks and customer service.
photo via Kristina O’Quinn for Bham Now
One of the harder things about being a business owner is the unpredictability in this industry.  Especially where we are, there’s not much foot traffic so we really depend on folks coming from in and around the neighbourhood in order for us to make it.  Every day I see people come through that door I’m filled with gratefulness.
photo via Kristina O’Quinn for Bham Now
I hope that as Birmingham grows it does so slowly and organically.  There’s amazing culture and people here and all the ingredients are here to make it even more beautiful.
photo via Kristina O’Quinn for Bham Now