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Born in Jamaica and raised in Aruba, entrepreneur Nick Gordon is brewing up success and adding to the cultural fabric of his hometown of San Nicolas.
He and his wife Kedesha opened the Kulture Café in 2019, diving into the coffee culture, as well as offering breakfast, salads, wraps, vegan options, fresh juices, and ice cream daily. A graduate of the University of Aruba, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting and Finance, Nick wanted to open a business in San Nicolas, recognising that a café in the heart of the historic art district would serve thearea well.
Timing and fate played a hand when Fundacion Arubano was soliciting applicants to take over the Nicolaas Store, a historic building constructed in 1940 that was restored in 2016 as part of the restoration movement in San Nicolas, resulting in a collection of renovated and repurposed buildings.
There is a lot of community sentiment for the Nicolaas Store that was once a popular retailer of books, newspapers, instruments, and gifts.
Everything about the building spoke to Nick—the history, character and location, identifying it as the ideal spot for his vision of a vibrant café offering fresh and healthy menu items and a welcoming community vibe for locals and visitors to the island to gather and soak up the unique charm of San Nicolas. Fundacion Arubano agreed, and awarded the contract to Nick and Kedesha.
Kulture Café’s signature menu items include the salmon avocado toast—Nick says it’s an “explosion of flavours,” and the café’s fresh juices are delightful thirst-quenchers for those strolling the downtown streets and perusing the street art, with standouts like the sage and lime juice combo, and authentic homemade lemonade. Several of the menu items are family recipes, including one from the Nicolaas family, the original owners of the building. In honor of Gabriel “Yuchi” Nicolaas, one of the most popular specialty coffees on the menu is the Yuchi, a strong but creamy and sweet coffee confection of espresso, local Ponche Crema liqueur, and whipped cream topped with roasted coffee beans.
Members of the Nicolaas family frequent Kulture Café to reminisce and sip Yuchi’s favourite drink. Nick has done a great job of evolving this charismatic space, maximising the potential and the location. In addition to hosting a variety of events—from private brunches, baby showers, and birthday celebrations to company meetings and cocktail parties—Kulture Café hosts quarterly foodie and wine-pairing events, collaborating with some of the island’s top chefs. The sold-out events often spill out into the street, offering an immersion into exciting cuisine in a historic setting. “Coming to spend an evening in San Nicolas is an experience that our local community looks forward to, and it’s a great way to bring locals from all over the island to enjoy the unique heritage of this side of their island,” explains Nick.
The Community Museum is housed on the second floor of the Nicolaas Store building. It is currently closed, but will be reopening in 2023.
Visitors to the island are discovering this San Nicolas gem as well, with Nick sharing that in particular, they see a lot of friendly faces from Holland, UK and Belgium. Nick and Kedesha recently welcomed a baby girl—their first—inspiring them to continue to evolve their family business for generations to come.
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