In The Works: 24-Hour LGBTQ Cafe in Downtown

“Building capital towards creating a LGBTQ friendly space in Denton. Like a gay IHOP with alcohol and performers.” This is the project description for a Kickstarter funding a 24-hour LGBTQ friendly café which Stephanie Davis and Lil Williams are working to bring to life at 222 Hickory, where Motto Sushi once was.

Picture of the not yet renovated space where Q's Cafe will be. 

Photo courtesy of Stephanie Davis.

According to Williams, the two owners are looking to sign the lease once the Kickstarter ends Feb. 11 and are shooting to have it signed by Feb. 20. Once signed, they will need to get all the certifications required, but are looking to have the café running by mid-to-late April.

The space is a Verus Real Estate property and the owners have been working with broker Glen Farris on the deal. Farris could not be reached for a comment immediately.

Davis said they began working on this project in late August – immediately after they got word Denton’s only gay bar Mable Peabody’s was closing. Mable’s officially closed in September.

“When Mable’s closed, everyone was like, ‘hey we need to do something,’” Davis said.

Williams then made a Facebook call-to-action. She took to her page to say she had the resources for loans and asked if anyone with a restaurant background could help. That’s when Davis stepped in with her restaurant management background to join forces with Williams.

Being a safe space and LGBTQ friendly is their main priority, but it is open for everyone.

The owners have sprouted the initial idea into a now multifaceted concept.

There will be a bar, but they will continue to serve coffee all-day as an alternative. During weekday mornings they will serve pastries and breakfast tacos for weekend mornings. The menu for the daytime will feature soups, sandwiches and salads – standard foods opposed to their creative nighttime menu. Davis said they want to have a “munchie” or “drunk food” menu for the late night to wee hours of the morning. Items such as Doritos nachos and funnel cake battered corn dogs will be available.

“She wanted a place to sober up at night,” said Davis on her business partner Williams.

The owners already have designated daily events they want to be held at the café. From comedy to poetry and trivia nights, Q’s has a loaded schedule.

“We wanted to figure out something for everyone to do,” Davis said.

They have been working with drag collective Enigmatic Haus Collective to host Saturday biweekly drag shows and weekly Sunday event called Drag Queen Storytime where Drag queens will read books to children. Davis said the collective along with many others in the community have been a tremendous help throughout the process.

“People have been really coming out of the woodwork to help us which has been really crazy,” Davis said. “It has been awesome but it’s like we go and thank people for talking to us and they thank us for putting this into the community, so it has been different.”

Davis also said they hope host pride events and are even looking into reaching out to Gay-Straight alliance clubs at local high schools to host meetings or events in their safe environment.

“There’s not always a place for everyone to hang out – it’s Texas,” Davis said.

This Monday, they will be holding an event at Sue Ellen’s in Dallas called Boobs, Bois, and Barbeque which will feature burlesque and drag in order to raise money for Q’s.

The Kickstarter has 8 days left with only $555 left to achieve their goal of $5,500. Davis said someone has already agreed to give $500 and whatever extra money it makes will go towards renovations.

Davis said they want Q’s to have an “eclectic” feel and hope to put up local artwork on the walls and sell it from the space.

The two owners are dedicated to creating a space they felt was missing which will consider the multiple layers of a person’s identity.

“Our concept with Q’s, everyone thinks it stands for queer,” Davis said. “It’s for ‘question mark,’ you know? Sometimes you don’t fit into this box or this box and it’s of for all the people that don’t have a box to fit in.”

Header image courtesy of Stephanie Davis. 

Header design by Mateo Granados.