Café with a Mission: Portico Provides Hope for those in Need


The Portico is a space for conversation, connection and community change. Its mission is to enhance the social and artistic fabric of Tampa. The space hard to miss when you’re driving up North Florida Avenue. The exterior is covered with a three-story mural, titled For the Love of this City, created by Illsol, Michelle Sawyer and Tony Krol. The image features Seminole Heights’ mascot — a two-headed alligator — and a large rooster, along with several other Tampa specific images.

New café helps support the homeless community

The organization recently debuted a new cafe on their campus. A portion of the proceeds from every coffee sold goes to support their homeless community initiatives and the livelihood of individuals transitioning out of difficult situations. Additionally, a portion of the staff are hired from local not-for-profit agencies. A grand opening is planned for Friday, May 5, beginning at 10am.

Aside from their menu of sweet coffee drinks and light bites, the café will also serve fresh smoothies. They’ve been flouting their vitamin-packed creations like the green kale smoothie — beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, lutein, zeaxanthin, calcium and fiber.

It will also act as a venue for open mic nights, live music, art exhibitions and other special events. The Portico is a fulfillment of a dream by the individuals behind the Hyde Park United Methodist Church.

Portico’s initiatives have a tangible effect in the community 

The owners host meditation sessions in the Chapel at 12:15pm  on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and 5pm on Sundays. Here, you’ll find art that speaks to the issues of greatest concern in our society. It is a space that encourages open dialogue, discussion and contemplation. Portico’s awareness-raising efforts include the Homeless Jesus statue and Homeless Memorial.

Love, Inc. is an extension of The Portico that acts as a network to bring local churches, volunteers and community organizations together to help people with basic needs — food, clothing, transitional housing programs, and life skills training. Those interested in getting involved can contact Rev. Justin LaRosa (justin@theportico.org).

Follow the cafe online for updates on the menu and to learn how you can get involved with the organization. You can also visit The Portico on Facebook to learn more about upcoming events and volunteer opportunities.

Written by Andrew Harlan

Andrew Harlan is in his third year as Writer/Editor of ThatsSoTampa.com. New York Times bestselling author Andre Dubus III has said of him, “Andrew Harlan has a sharp and discerning eye for detail that deftly captures character and landscape.” He has published fiction and poetry in Sabal and Prime Number Literary Magazine. He graduated with honors from Eckerd College in 2013 with a B.A. in Creative Writing and a minor in Literature. Phone: (727) 896-3435 / Email: andrew@rkc.me