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The Student Voice of UNC Asheville

The Blue Banner

The Student Voice of UNC Asheville

The Blue Banner

Former UNCA student to open coffee shop in Asheville

Photo courtesy of Haywood Famous
Eva Rodriguez-Cué showcases Haywood Famous at Pride.

Haywood Famous is an authentic Cuban coffee shop opening in Spring 2024, promoting inclusiveness and offering a sober space for nightlife in Asheville. The sole owner and founder of Haywood Famous is former UNCA student Eva Rodriguez-Cué.

“I wanted to create a coffee shop that was more like the coffee shops I grew up around, like what it was like drinking coffee in my home. We’d drink it late at night, play dominos, we’d catch up, we’d just have a community space. I always talk about my coffee shop being a place to exchange art, music and ideas,” Rodriguez-Cué said.

The name Haywood Famous comes from Haywood St. in Asheville, according to Rodriguez-Cué.

“When you’re on Haywood walking down the street, three people say hello to you. You don’t know them, but they know you. Everybody knows each other in this way that is really welcoming, like a small town. I come from a small town, it’s like I’ve always been in these very close-knit spaces, so I want to create something like that,” Rodriguez-Cué said.

Rodriguez-Cué said Haywood Famous will not be a typical coffee shop. It will be a creative space, with a heavy focus on growing a community.

“When I got to be a teenager, I realized when I would go to get coffee with friends I had a different idea of what I wanted to get out of that space. We’d go to coffee shops to talk and gossip and catch up, to have a space where we could be out of the house, away from our parents, finding ourselves. Then we’d go and people would be on their computers working, turning around and wondering why we were talking. It was like we were in the library,” Rodriguez-Cué said.

Rodriguez-Cué says inclusivity is a priority for Haywood Famous. They aim to create a comfortable space for neurodivergent and queer communities, as well as somewhere for people of any age to gather.

“I want this to be a space that’s also welcoming to neurodivergent young people who are also looking for a place to go. I’m looking into the quietest machinery and grinders on the market, and creating a space where we can go and talk and we won’t be talking over music so loud we can’t hear each other,” Rodriguez-Cué said.

Rodriguez-Cué clarifies that despite this the coffee shop will still be a spot for nightlife, albeit focusing on sobriety and connection.

”I want to go to a coffee shop at night. I want to have art supplies out and listen to records. I want to be able to draw on the table, to talk to my friends. To have a space that feels like Asheville, with this ‘come as you are’ attitude, where everyone is friends,” Rodriguez-Cué said.

Haywood Famous owner Eva Rodriguez-Cué poses with coffee supplies. (Photo courtesy of Haywood Famous)

Now sober themselves, Rodriguez-Cué said it’s important Haywood Famous remains a sober late-night establishment.

”When it came time to socialize as an adult, that’s pretty much all there was to do. My friends would ask me to go to a bar, and I would think it was fun, but for me, especially being sober, there was nothing to do. I would just sit around the tables and wait for something to happen. Everyone was either drinking or smoking. I didn’t have much to do. I wanted to create a space that was a departure from what we typically have,” Rodriguez-Cué said.

 Rodriguez-Cué also explained the importance a sober nightlife space has on the LGBTQ+ community.

”More than anything I want this to be a space or resilience. So often queer spaces are about partying, letting loose, drinking, poppers, this kind of debauchery and craziness. I love that and there’s definitely a space for that, but I was craving a queer space focused on rest and resilience and that in the end, makes us strong enough to keep going, to build up and resist in this world that is trying to make sure we aren’t feeling our best,” Rodriguez-Cué said.

The owner has already made an impact on those in the area. Fellow member of the queer recovery community Vigilance Daiz Dedmon says Rodriguez-Cué’s journey has been an inspiration.

“We’ve gotten to be friends over the past year and thensome. It’s been really inspiring to watch someone so young follow such a vital passion project,” said Dedmon.

Soon to fulfill their dream since the age of 15, Rodriguez-Cué looks forward to Haywood Famous’ approaching opening.

“I look around at all the people that are so excited about this space. I think about how far I’ve come as a person and how we talk about being the person you needed when you were young. I think about all the kids’ lives I’m going to affect. I think about all the people I’m going to touch with this space, all the lessons I’m going to learn. I’m just along for the ride, and I’m ready for it,” Rodriguez-Cué said.

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