Riverdale Rises: Artizen Cafe Has Workspace and Love

Artizen Cafe on Riverdale Ave combines artisan goods and coffee with a co-working space. LAUREN RAZIANO/THE QUADRANGLE

By, Lauren Raziano, Multimedia Editor 

Combining a boutique co-working space with artisanal coffee and goods, Artizen Cafe offers a new curated atmosphere for the Riverdale community. Co-founders Adam Castillo and Maria Liriano shared their love for coffee and community with The Quadrangle.

The Artizen name is the amalgamation of  “artisan” and “zen”. Their logo represents their tagline, “Coffee. Workspace. Culture.”

“Our overall mission was to provide the community with a space to be productive and creative,” Liriano said. “And also sort of a safe haven where they can come and just catch their breath if they just want to come and sit downstairs at the café. So, the café separation is intentional. We wanted to provide the community with quality, artisanal goods, which is a specialty coffee that we offer our baked goods at this moment, and hopefully, in the future, we’ll have some more offerings.”

The cafe also has a unique logo, with symbols that link what the owners want Artizen to represent.


“The logo, if you look closely, you’ll see a chair and table top because this is a workspace, we want to incorporate an image there that represents that.” Castillo said. “If you also look closely, you’ll see the image of Chemex, used for coffee pour over. It also has a very kind of tribal aesthetic as well and because of cultural background, we want to incorporate some of that as well. So if you notice, our tagline is ‘Coffee. Workspace. Culture.’ those are the things you’ll find in that logo.” 

Artizen serves Don Carvajal Café, which is a Dominican brew locally roasted in the South Bronx. 

“We partnered up with Don Carvajal Café, he is a young Hispanic coffee roaster from the Bronx. He is the only coffee roaster from the Bronx and we found his story online.” Castillo said.

Founder of Don Carvajal Café, Hector Castillo Carvajal, produced his idea for coffee during a marketing project in college.

“He grew up with coffee, his family had coffee farms in the Dominican Republic so he got into roasting the coffee,” Castillo said. “He presented his idea to his class and it was a hit and people wanted to buy his coffee. Now, he has blown up and we found his coffee and we really liked his story and wanted to support him.”

The support from the Riverdale community has only increased their excitement towards an official launch. 

Sarina Prabasi, Co-Founder of Buunni Coffeehouse, commented on Artizen’s instagram support for the storefront. Three years ago, Bunni Coffeehouse had a store next door to Artizen’s space but closed prior to Covid-19, leaving an absence for a coffee shop on Riverdale Ave. 

“Congratulations @artizennyc I can’t wait to visit,” Prabasi commented. “Three years ago we closed @buunnicoffee at 3702 Riverdale Ave, and now you’ve opened this beautiful coffee shop right next door. There’s a time for everything and this is your time.” 

Liriano is grateful for the community response to the space.  

“Everyone has been super supportive and gives positive feedback,” Liriano said. “They’re excited for the space and once they’re in it, and they hang out for a while they love the energy of it. The one thing that people keep saying is like we really needed this, we really needed something like this in the community. So it’s been good, it’s been really good.”

Artizen is currently working on revealing their five private office spaces and an eight person conference room. They are also installing a printer and copier station.

“We definitely want to get the workspace going,” Liriano said. “We’re still in our soft launch. Hopefully, by mid next month, we’ll have the workspace going.”

In the future they are looking forward to having more cultural community events.

“We also want to look into having cultural community events, maybe some art exhibitions, we have some musicians who want to come into play and also some events for families because this is that type of neighborhood. We have four boys together and so people are always looking to do things with their kids.” Liriano said. 

The co-owners also shared their heartfelt love story. Castillo owns Opex Riverdale gym and Liriano always had a dream to open a cafe. 

“I like for everyone to know that a coffee shop is part of our love story. When we first met, and I’ve had this dream for about 10 years now, and now it’s finally come to fruition, but it is part of our love story and how we got to know each other better, like one coffee shop at a time.” Liriano said. 

Castillo told The Quadrangle about how Liriano attended his gym and when he found out about her dream about opening a cafe they started to go on ‘research and development’ meetings with one another.


“I convinced her to go to research and development meetings at different coffee shops all over the city and I told her that if I were gonna go into this business, I had to learn more about the business,” Castillo said. “But really, I was trying to learn more about her and that’s exactly how it unfolded, you know, in a coffee shop after another one r&d  business meeting after another thing got romantic.”

Combining their ideas and now sharing a blended family with four kids, the co-owners are proud of their coffee shop. 

“We decided to go after what originally brought us together, which was the idea of the coffee shop,” Castillo said. “It was during the pandemic and at that moment, nobody wanted to invest in a brick and mortar. So there were a lot of empty spaces, this space was available, and we thought it was a perfect space. We just went all in.” 

To find out more information about Artizen’s brand and official launch date, follow them on instagram @Artizennyc.