By Brittany Wallace, Contributing Writer
“Leave your mark.” That’s been the mission and mantra for Edward Ackah-Miezah, owner and founder of Cafe Ruisseau, since he set out to open his own cafe.
Ackah-Miezah has worked around coffee since 1993. Since then, he was able to witness firsthand the explosive popularity of major coffee chains, like Starbucks, while learning the ins and outs of the coffee business
Following the birth of his daughter, Ruisseau, in 2003, Ackah-Miezah decided to take his love and experience with coffee, and turn it into something that would leave a mark on his community, and provide a legacy for his loved ones. The cafe was named after Ackah-Miezah’s daughter, but he calls the name “emblematic”, as it reminds him of his responsibility to take care of those that belong to him.
Cafe Ruisseau got its start as a coffee cart on the studio lots in Century City in 2005, and would serve the production assistants from movie sets. Ackah-Miezah noticed that by the time the assistants got back to set, iced drinks would be lukewarm, hot coffee would be cold, or spilled. He wanted to solve this problem by bringing his coffee closer to his customers, so he decided to purchase his own coffee equipment. Shortly thereafter, the buzz around the coffee cart grew and Ackah-Miezah was able to have a second coffee cart to meet the demands of his customers. He was later asked to provide services for several TV shows and movies like Spiderman 3, Iron Man 1 and 2, Netfilx’s Dear White People, and My Name is Dolemite.
Ackah-Miezah opened his first Cafe Ruisseau location in Playa Vista in 2017, and the second location in Santa Monica in 2020. Coffee lovers can find their favorite traditional hot or iced drinks at Cafe Ruisseau, or try something different like the Blue Butterfly Lemonade. Ackah-Miezah wants all Cafe Ruisseau customers to feel comfortable and at ease, and for them to enjoy their time in the cafe without pretense.
In the wake of COVID-19, the cafe has taken all necessary precautions to keep employees and customers safe, including masks, regimented cleaning and sanitizing, regular handwashing, and gloves.
Connecting with others is most important to Ackah-Miezah, and he wants to ensure that customers are still able to safely connect with others. While the coffee business has become more serious in recent years, Ackah-Miezah feels that “pretension sours the coffee”. He went on to say that “Cafe Ruisseau isn’t a place where customers might feel looked down upon, or unwelcomed. But rather, a place that people can feel free to gather, and connect with others.”
When it comes to growth and expansion beyond the newest Santa Monica location of Cafe Ruisseau, Ackah-Miezah says that he “hopes to have a few more cafes opened in the next five years or so.” For now, though, he says he is just “focused on the day to day.” It’s safe to say that Ackah-Miezah has accomplished his goal and left his mark on his community by opening two incredibly successful black-owned cafes within two years of each other.