Born from an inkling of an idea while on a recent volunteer trip with her son to Tanzania, Africa, Poa (poa stands for cool in Swahilli and is often used in a greeting amongst friends), became a reality early in 2014.
Like so many before them, Janice and her then 5 year old son, Rocket, came home determined to help the new friends they left behind at the Msmaria Center for street kids and orphans. The answer was clear and would also solve what seemed like another local problem- a lack of slightly more sophisticated parent-friendly restaurants that catered a new generation of parents. Together with her husband, Greg and daughter, Nico, they quickly found a vacant space in Portland's bustling N Williams area, and Poa Cafe was born.
The project took six months to complete, with Janice + Greg designing and building a majority on their own as a labour of love. The interior is divided into four sections: a marble bar with USB chargers, a dining section, a creative play-space, and a carefully curated retail section in the back. There's also a sidewalk cafe and a large, sunlit patio space in back with an outdoor play area for kids.
Serving nutritious and quality food and full bar for a wide range of palates, while also providing a creative play-spacefor the kids, Poa is one of those rare places where parents can still feel like adults while providing entertainment for the kids. The goal is to not only help parents catch a well-needed + deserved break, but also to inspire the children as they become aware of the world and different cultures around them, including Tanzania's Msamria Center. This becomes obvious through the curated play-space + retail section, where you can find books about traveling + geography, alongside maps, global puzzles, language learning material and other product created from artisans all over the world. We also have free events, such as storytelling, art, music and yoga, which also focus on multicultural learning, The cafe has free wi-fi service for patrons, including USB plug-ins near the bar/window seating, and plans to integrate iPads for children, which will satisfy the curiosity of all ages.