UPDATE: Gigibar is now closed and new owners have opened a new shop in the same space. Read more about it here.
I went to Gigibar the other day out at the corner of 60th and SE Division to drink some coffee and to meet with a fellow MIM graduate, David Hubbard. I arrived around 10:30am, and had the café to myself when I arrived. Gigi, the owner, greeted me and asked what I wanted to drink. I asked her about her espresso and she told me it was Bella Selva, an organic coffee roasted by K&F Coffees, a Portland company. She said it was a lighter roast that was kind of chocolaty. I ordered a double ($2) and went to sit down. The coffee was nice and toasty, not over-extracted or bitter.
The café had a fairly open floor plan. There were a few small tables along the windows, two larger ones out in the middle and a couch over by the kids’ corner, where a rug and some toys sat on the floor. It looked like a good space for toddlers to hang out. Rock music was playing over the speakers, but not too loud to be distracting. Many framed pictures with scenes from around Portland hung on the walls, available for sale if you were looking for a souvenir.
After working for a while, my stomach started growling and it was nearly impossible to concentrate, so I went back up to the counter to get a bagel. I ordered the cheese bagel with pesto cream cheese ($2.55). It hit the spot, and I was once again able to focus on what I was doing.
Later, David and I got talking with Gigi about her business. She said that in addition to the café, which has been open for three years, she also does small business consulting, working with business that have less than $100,000 in annual revenues. She calls the venture MiniConsulting™, and she offers a variety of services. Business has been so good she is thinking about franchising it.
Gigi also told us she grew up in Puerto Rico learning Spanish, English, French and Italian. A fellow linguaphile! I always look for opportunities to practice, so we chatted in español for a while. After that, Gigi gave me a quick lesson in Italian. I asked her why she spoke Italian and she told me that her mother was Italian. When she was younger, the family would go to Italy every summer. I bet they drank some buon caffè while they were there!
I enjoyed my visit to Gigibar. I drank good coffee, ate a good bagel and got to practice Spanish and Italian. For me, that’s a great combination. If you’re looking for a place to hang out, drink coffee and work on your language skills, Gigibar is a good place to do that.
Address: 5941 SE Division Street
Hours: Monday-Friday 7am-8pm
Coffee: Bella Silva
Free Wi-Fi? Yes
Kid-friendly? More than some places
Recommend it? Yes, particularly if you want to practice your Italian, Spanish or French