What's on Tap

What's on Tap

VCA Spotlight: Sola Coffee is a cafe on a mission

Posted September 15, 2020 8:50 a.m. EDT
Updated September 16, 2020 10:19 a.m. EDT

— A north Raleigh cafe is on a mission to raise money to fund research into ALS.

This is the 7th year Sola Coffee Cafe has hosted its Hot Mini 5K. In the first five years the race benefited the Wounded Warriors Project, but after co-owner Jeanne Luther was diagnosed with ALS the focus shifted.

"The love for us...it's just been so heartwarming," Luther said.

While the race is normally held on-site outside of the cafe, this year it is being done virtually. With more than 800 people signed up, the race has already raised $80,000 - surpassing their original $50,000 goal. Racers can sign up online and run anytime on or before Sept. 19.

John and Jeanne Luther opened Sola eight years ago in the Greystone shopping center off Lead Mine Road. It won the 2019 WRAL Voters' Choice Award for best coffee shop.

The couple had previously run a bagel shop in Maryland and wanted to connect with the Raleigh community the same way.

"We saw what food and drink do to people in a community that see each other day after day and you get to know their names and you get to know who they are and their kids and their struggles and victories...that was our passion," John Luther said.

The Luthers started out wanting to make Sola a drive-thru coffee shop, so they selected a space that was a former bank. The drive-thru window wasn't a good fit though for Sola's craft coffee, which takes a little longer to prepare.

Sola never closed during the pandemic, instead shifting to to-go ordering and closing their dining room. The Luthers said they received a federal PPP loan to help them during the coronavirus pandemic and were able to retain all of their staff. The shop currently has outdoor seating and a walk-up window for ordering.

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