Posted October 10, 2013 by Cooper Point Journal in Features

New Moon, New Ownership

In August, the New Moon Cafe at 113 4th Avenue opened its doors under new ownership. The local Black Moon Collective spent February through April in negotiations with then-owner Dylan Elkhart. The collective officially purchased the restaurant in May.

“Ultimately it’s about creating a job for ourselves,” said Kat Darger, one of New Moon’s 14 co-owners. Another collective member, who asked to be called “just Jimmy,” said, “It is really cool that we got the experience we did at the [Flaming] Eggplant. It was invaluable.”

Several Black Moon Collective members gained previous experience in collective ownership and food service at Evergreen’s Flaming Eggplant Cafe. S&A funding allows the Eggplant to source all local and organic ingredients. “We’ve been handed a business and we need to shift it into that [direction],” said Jimmy. “Right now the model is really affordable.” Jimmy stressed the importance of the cafe’s responsibility to its regulars when discussing any future changes.

Darger said, “It’s a really important thing that we have this space.” According to Darger, the New Moon is planning to open its front-of-house space for community events. “This place is super conducive to acoustic music and poetry,” said Jimmy.

The collective is discussing lending the use of its kitchen, during off-hours, to local businesses and nonprofits consistent with the New Moon’s mission and values.

One of those businesses, Strawbetty’s, provided pies for the Fall Arts Walk menu. Artist Peter McCoy’s work was up by 5 pm on Friday for Arts Walk crowds. McCoy is working with café staff to design the new logo and front window art integral to the slow-and-cautious rebranding process underway at New Moon.

Collective members emphasize that many of the current changes are operational: the cafe runs on consensus and without hierarchy. Each member is equally responsible for decisions affecting the business’ success.

Members form four committees that handle different areas: food, finance, operations, and outreach. They also take on different roles within committees. For example, Darger acts in a marketing role within the outreach committee.

Customer’s choices at the New Moon’s remain the same. Art on the walls will continue to rotate monthly. And, as a longtime patron, I can attest that the chili on the Arts Walk menu falls in line with the cafe’s history of quality food.

by Cassie Johnson-Villalobos