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Davis Journal

Come for the coffee, stay for the plants!

Nov 30, 2023 09:52AM ● By Kiana Fonua Williams
Owner, Mike Alvarado and Barista, Mercedes Hathaway working hard to brew specialty coffee for the early morning rush of costumers. (Photo by Kiana Fonua Williams)

Owner, Mike Alvarado and Barista, Mercedes Hathaway working hard to brew specialty coffee for the early morning rush of costumers. (Photo by Kiana Fonua Williams)

Imagine yourself in the early hours of the brisk morning air, it’s sunrise on Main Street and you are walking toward an old fashion building covered in bricks. Opening the front entrance that is covered in a pane of glass and you’ll notice a variety of plants that are visible from the show window with daylight glaring through. As you venture in there is an abundance of greenery, as if stepping into a summer greenhouse. It smells of fresh coffee and orchids with an old record playing soft tunes in the background. Wandering in further, you catch bright colors of green vibes only along the walls and vintage décor, giving a warm emotion of calmness. Observing more of the environment your eyes catch vinyls, books, puzzles, and board games for entertainment. You’ve now reached the back of the café where you can order freshly brewed coffee, hot cocoa, tea, and baked goods to savor as you capture this newfound space. Welcome to Split Leaf Coffee and Pistil + Thorn. 

Split Leaf Coffee is located inside Pistil + Thorn plant shop and can be found in Bountiful right off the west side of Main Street. It is a fully repurposed building, redone by the owners themselves that share space with one another, coinciding in perfect harmony to create a beautiful space. Split Leaf first opened in August of 2021 by Mike Alvarado and his sister, Emily Conklin. Pistil + Thorn opened a few months behind in December of that same year by Nikki McKean and Natalie McKean-Peterson sister duo. Mike and Nikki are a husband-and-wife power couple that have created the concept of this local made and owned café. Customers come for both remote work and lounging with friends for the day. Regular customer, Michelle Christensen comes often with friends, “I always come here to chat, drink and shop” she said. 

Getting coffee in-house straight from them is all about having the experience in person they want their customers to have and for the community to come in and get an at home, feel good encounter. Mike was a former barista and feels that over the decade the world of coffee is now extremely different than back in the day. “When you dive in now, there’s a huge wealth of information around coffee with sourcing and techniques,” he said. It’s not as simple to own a coffee shop now-a-days with people being so critical, and with competing as a small business against places like Starbucks and Butch Bros with all their crazy drinks. “It’s finding a balance between classics coffee and staple chain yummy drinks that people love,” Nikki said. They do offer a newly made menu, so don’t miss their specials. They share the value and significance of supporting local shops in the area. 

Another reason why Mike and Nikki share their shop with local artists and vendors, is to showcase their businesses and talents with the community monthly. Each month they gladly collaborate with small local businesses that have everything from handmade jewelry, repurposed clothing, crystals and more. They also showcase reused vinyl with the collaboration of Lavender Vinyl based out of Ogden that customers can sift through. “Our shop supports all variety and diverse groups of people; it shows that we are supporters of all and welcome diversity.” He said. Both wanted to design an environment that was friendly, inviting, comforting and peaceful. “I think that for us, it’s the feeling like you belong,” he said. They pride themselves on the customer experience being positive, happy, and inclusive. It’s worth sharing the space with artists, so they can sell their arts and their trade in hopes to gain new people discovering their coffee shop as well. “Having really cool artists and being able to swap out every month has been amazing,” Mike said. They have their calendar nearly booked full every month till March. An opportunity for local businesses and artists to reach out and join their shop. 

Although it wasn’t always such an easy path for them, especially opening during a time when people were staying home more often, using drive throughs frequently, and not gathering in groups as much. They pushed through and made their store available to those who needed that human interaction, Split Leaf was a haven. There are still quite a lot of people that don’t really explore outside of Salt Lake because it’s what they’re use to, but this is such a hidden gem in Davis County. The growth has been there and getting bigger, on older Main Street and newer Main Street. Complete remodeling of the stores and cute boutiques nearby have helped the community become more aware of this area coming back to life. 

Don’t miss out on their market this Dec. 16, located at 37 North Main Street, Bountiful, Utah. You can keep updated with details on their social media @split_leaf_coffee. They will be showcasing more little local vendors with their popup; they welcome everyone to come support and be part of the event. When you visit, be mindful of the smells in the air, the sounds surrounding you, capture the entirety of what a simple moment in their café can hold.