WHEATON – DuPage County has become increasingly diverse in recent years.
According to the 2011 county census, 18.4 percent of residents are born in a foreign country.
Wheaton’s newest cafe hopes to provide a place where they can all feel welcomed and celebrated.
Café K’Tizo, 1915 N. Gary Ave., is the brainchild of West Chicago residents Judy and Bruce Duncan.
“I knew I wanted to have a place of connection,” Judy Duncan said. “I appreciate people and connecting people, love networking and the diversity of DuPage County, and I wanted a place that would celebrate people and cultures and help them connect.”
She said her family has long had a passion for getting to know people different than themselves. They have hosted international students for several years, and are housing three currently.
Judy Duncan said she believes it is harder to have those connections living in the suburbs in today’s Internet age. She hopes the cafe, which features teas from around the world and a menu with vegan and gluten-free options, can serve as a venue to foster mutual appreciation.
Judy Duncan spent the better part of a decade preparing for the opening, becoming certified as a tea specialist and starting a tea wholesale business to establish the financial foundation for the brick and mortar space.
The cafe will host a variety of events, not just to appreciate cultures in the area, but to help recent immigrants navigate their new lives by connecting them to resources and holding classes on topics such as American culture and filing taxes. The staff speaks a combined five different languages, she said.
Café K’Tizo also will be filled with local artwork in a rotating gallery and will feature the products of a number of local vendors.
Tea will play a central part in programming, with ceremonies and regional spotlights of select teas.
“I wanted it to be a teahouse type of cafe, because it allowed us to discuss each other’s cultures and explore a bit,” Judy Duncan said. “We are hoping to send out welcomes to our neighbors through tea and our food and feel like this is a place where they can all come and enjoy a meal.”
K’Tizo, a stylized Greek word – usually appearing as ktizo – means “new creation” or “new formation,” Judy said, and embodies what she hopes her cafe will be.
“When we meet others, we keep our own identity but we learn from each other and continue to grow and change,” she said. “I have no Greek heritage, but it’s a word that to me has a good deep meaning.”
For more information, visit www.ktizotea.com or call 630-702-946.
From the menu
All menu items are named after wonders of the world.
• Machu Picchu black bean soup • Colossus of Rhodes salad • Hanging Gardens of Babylon salad • Stonehenge sandwich • Great Pyramid wrap