Cafeza coffee photo by inez lara c329iv

Enjoying cafe en español.

Image: Inez Lara

Calling all caffeine lovers: If you like your food and coffee to have a worldly point of view, there's a new spot to get your fix.

Cafeza, a new coffee bar in the First Ward at 1720 Houston Ave., opened last weekend and boasts a Spanish influenced menu featuring churros (complete with a side of chocolate or guava sauce), bocadillos and tapas-style bar bites to complement your Cubano Cortado or Dos Leches coffee.

“Cafeza combines several international influences with an infusion of Texan hospitality to create a completely new and unique experience,” co-founder Ryan Hazen said in a press release.

Hazen and his wife, Keisha, first moved to the First Ward in 2011, where they wished “somebody” would open a coffee shop. Because of their experiences traveling to various countries around the world, they were inspired by the different café cultures they encountered, including Barcelona and Buenos Aires.

Because of this influence, Spanish, Latin and American cuisine rule Cafeza’s menu. The coffee bar boasts itself as a “cafecería,” a concept used by small cafes in Buenos Aires and Barcelona, where they serve a simple menu of drinks and tapas.

Cafeza tacos photo by kyle buthod nztbfb

Not looking for caffeine? These tacos don't have any at all.

Image: Kyle Buthod

Long hours–6 a.m. to 11 p.m.–benefit early birds and night owls alike. Patrons can chow down on classic street-style tacos–which come with spicy shrimp or carne asada—or come in for happy hour to get their drink on with a fresh sorrel sangria dashed with hibiscus syrup and cinnamon, calimocho (a red wine and Coca Cola mix popular in Spain) or a mojito. If you can’t jet off to Miami for a weekend, the next best thing may be a bocadillo, or a Spanish sandwich on baguette-like bread, filled Cubano-style with pork shoulder, Serrano ham and Swiss cheese.

Cafeza bar photo by inez lara ztz7hq

The artsy First Ward influences the interior at Cafeza.

Image: Inez Lara

In the evening, patrons can expect performances by local musicians to go along with their drinks and churros. If you’re not feeling the fried goodness that is a churro (but honestly, if that's the case, what’s wrong with you?), chow down on a spinach-and-pear salad dressed with toasted walnuts and goat cheese.

But just because the restaurant is based on foreign influences, that doesn’t mean Cafeza doesn’t honor Houston. The coffee bar’s walls are adorned with all the fixings of the area’s arts scene, including collections of art that are all painted by local artists—the perfect way to get to a Houstonian’s heart.

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