Cafe X: Peach Cobbler Cinnamon Rolls with a Side of Generational Wealth Building – San Diego Magazine

Cynthia and Khea Pollard, owners of Cafe X in southeast San Diego

Café X had me at “peach cobbler cinnamon rolls.” But the more I learned about the purpose behind this mother-daughter owned coffee house, the more I liked. Balancing gluttony with a good cause? In my mind, those are net-zero calories. 

In 2016, Khea Pollard completed a community fellowship program that required ideation of a community action project. “At the time, I was really focused on southeast San Diego as that’s where I grew up, that’s where my mom was raised, and we have family that has lived there for years,” Pollard explains. “I knew that at one point in time, there was a really strong Black community there. Economically, there were a lot of businesses that closed for reasons like gentrification and cost of living. I was very adamant about reviving and revitalizing that neighborhood.”

One of the pastries on the menu at Cafe X

Pollard began to envision a communal space that would be reflective of Black culture and values that would help to build economic and entrepreneurial opportunities for the community. “I thought about the way coffee can bring people together,” she says. At the time, there was only a single Starbucks in the neighborhood. Pollard began to shop around the idea of a coffee house that ran as a cooperative—a worker-owned enterprise—to be a hub for arts, culture, and education. “I just had this desire to build something—an asset,” she says. “ It’s not a nonprofit. Even though my background, my master’s is in nonprofit leadership and management, I wanted to really have a business because it is a tool to build wealth and eliminate the idea that it has to be locked into capitalist corporate structure.”

Pollard built out the infrastructure of Café X with her mother, Cynthia. Their first location was shuttered due to the pandemic but now they’ve reopened on Imperial Avenue at 1835 Creative Studios. In addition to hosting …….