Café Tinto brings a taste of Colombia to North Philadelphia

The owner takes pride in not only keeping her culture alive but in sharing it with others.

TaRhonda Thomas Image
Friday, September 17, 2021
Bakery keeps Colombian food, culture alive in Philly
As the Colombian community grows in Philadelphia, one small bakery is giving people with Colombian roots a taste of home while sharing that flavor with the entire community.Café Tinto is a bakery keeping Colombian food, culture alive in Philadelphia.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- When Giselle Poveda makes one of her favorite bread recipes, she never uses a knife to cut the dough.

She uses her hand, just like her father did... and his father before him. For this young baker, it's all about keeping tradition.

"I think it speaks to our identity, whether we got here a long time ago or we just got here, there's a connection," Poveda said as she rolled dough by hand in her home.

As the owner of Café Tinto at 143 E. Wyoming Ave. in North Philadelphia, she takes pride in not only keeping her culture alive but in sharing it with others.

"For me, at Café Tinto, it's an honor for me to expose other people to my culture," she said. "Yes, Colombians can come and connect to their roots. But I also want to have other cultures come explore my culture."

It's a culture that's expanding in Philadelphia.

Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce VP of Strategic Partnerships Javier Suarez says the Colombian community in the city has seen steady growth.

"Colombians have been coming to Philadelphia for decades," he said. "My parents came in the early 60s, and there's always a little wave every decade."

Many Colombians who move to Philadelphia spent time in other American cities first.

"They come from different parts of the country, mainly New York and Miami first," he said.

Poveda came to Philadelphia when she was 14, though her grandmother migrated here about 40 years ago. Poveda's father opened the bakery to fulfill his dream. She continues her father's legacy with pride while bridging the gap for Colombian Americans.

"Every day to be able to open my doors and give Colombians a place to connect back home... I feel like we never lose touch with our culture," Poveda said while adding that food has been the first exposure to Colombian culture for Americans and members of other cultures.

"I've met quite a few friends through the bakery, through Café Tinto who aren't Colombian," she said. "They're basically American, and they came into the store and tried the food and now they've actually made it all the way to Colombia. They took a trip because they were so intrigued by the service, the food, the coffee."

Suarez says it's the type of representation that can bring people of all backgrounds together.

"The food scene in Philadelphia is so vibrant," he said. "And that's what it's doing. It's introducing people to the sights and smells that they hadn't had before. To see Colombian bakeries and restaurants pop up, it's just another way of introducing people to our culture."

Poveda shares the recipe for one of Café Tinto's most popular dishes: Pan de Bono ("good bread"). The cheesy, buttery pastry is surprisingly easy to make at home. Watch the video to see how!