Cafe Ma'kai boasts an array of coffee and brunch items inside its calm, beachy interior where soft pop sings along with the consistent clack of keyboards as people work.
This earthy cafe provides a quiet, tranquil corner to study, read a book, or maybe catch up with a friend over a snack.
Cafe Ma'kai creates all of its syrups in-house and has a rotating menu of specialty drinks ranging from coffees to juices to teas.
Manager Mary McAuliffe comes up with ideas to make the store consistently fun and new so it’s always a fresh experience for everyone from tourists to regulars - even if those regulars don’t often stray from their favorite drinks.
“There’s a Pitbull and a chihuahua, and their owner’s name is Steven,” McAuliffe said. “He gets an iced oat milk vanilla latte almost every time."
As a dog-friendly place, the café has lots of four-legged visitors who drool for the bacon Cafe Ma'kai keeps underneath the register for them.
For its bipedal visitors, the cafe offers foods with gluten, dairy, and vegan-friendly options that are organically sourced in or near Nashville.
“We’re always trying to increase the menu in a way that’s cost-effective for customers,” McAuliffe said. “There’s always the goal to expand on the menu to keep and continue growing more organic, more locally found, healthier options.”
The rest of the café's regulars are Belmont students and staff who are looking for a chill environment to get work done somewhere with good food, music, lighting and coffee, said McAuliffe.
Belmont junior Carly Ross explains how she can spend all day in Cafe Ma'kai getting work done.
“It’s not too loud, and really cute and cozy. You don’t get distracted,” Ross said. “Portland Brew is good, but it’s dark. Starbucks is too crowded. This doesn’t feel like a traditional coffee shop, it’s just more modern and very light.”
Cafe Ma'kai aims to attract locals and college students.
“We are the coffee shop that’s meant to cater to the locals - obviously we’re tourist friendly, but our owner's goal was to connect with the local community in a way that these new coffee shops that are popping up in Nashville just aren’t,” McAuliffe said.
In an attempt to continue its connection with locals, Cafe Ma'kai will continue its open mic nights and plans to have after-hours service during midterms to cater to college students, McAuliffe said.
This article was written by Maya Burney