This Teeny Tiny Cafe Is Designed to Look Like a Birch Forest
And the only thing on the menu? Mushroom drinks.
Published Nov 3, 2017 5:30 AM
Abbot Kinney, a boulevard in sunny Venice, California that’s been described as “the coolest block in America,” is no stranger to unique, hipster-bohemian retail concepts. Chef Travis Lett of Gjelina fame made dining on milk crates cool at his takeaway eatery GTA, for a hot second the area was home to a chocolate shop in a tree trunk, and as of two months ago, fungi fanatic Tero Isokauppila has flipped that same space into what’s likely the world’s first mushroom cafe.
“Venice is really a hub for superfood appreciation,” says Isokauppila, a 13th generation Finnish farmer and forager who launched Four Sigmatic—a brand hinged on immunity-boosting mushroom-infused drink mixes—in 2012. Because mushrooms’ healthy powers aren’t quite common knowledge just yet, he aspired to build a unique social retail hub in which the fungi-curious could learn about the healing benefits of mushrooms. Enter: Shroom Room.
Specifically inspired by chaga, an antioxidant-rich mushroom that commonly grows on birch trees (Finland’s national tree), Shroom Room aims to capture the power of a white birch tree forest, hence the nook’s spic and span whitewashed interior, painted bark door, and red and white mushroom bar stools—all of which were conceived by Miami-based textile designer and decorative artist Jeanine Maleno. “When you walk in, you’ll see we’ve made every effort to offer a minimalistic design that meets our mushroom obsession,” Isokauppila says.
As for Shroom Room’s menu, all mushroom elixirs, coffees, hot chocolates, and lattes made in the shop are gratis. However, the mixes to make those drinks at home are for sale (just add hot water!), in addition to Four Sigmatic’s newly released mushroom matcha powder, mushrooms mugs by local potter Erin Karr of EMK Ceramics, some pretty incredible mushroom leggings masterminded by Isokauppila himself, plus his new book, Healing Mushrooms, which debuted last month.
And in terms of those gratis drinks, simply share an astrology sign, favorite color, or any body ailments, and a Shroom Room’s barista will “come up with your perfect shroom beverage,” says Isokauppila. Because it doesn’t get any more LA than knocking back mushroom-injected drinks, while sitting on a mushroom stool, within a micro white birch tree forest, in the heart of Venice.