The Woodlawn Cycle Cafe has opened in downtown Woodlawn on First Avenue South between 55th Place North and 56th Street South (north and south streets converge right at this point). If a cool coffee shop filled with hipsters is a sure sign that a working-class neighborhood with low-priced housing stock, little retail, and large pockets of poverty is turning a certain psychological corner–here’s the evidence (interior, above). The exterior (above) is simple but well-detailed, with custom steel doors and windows that complement the Stockholm-meets-Birmingham interior. Open for only a few weeks now, it’s a jaw-dropping surprise to anyone who’s witnessed the struggles of this neighborhood over the last many decades. However, when one understands the tireless efforts of many organizations, from REV Birmingham to the Woodlawn Foundation in making improvements over the years, perhaps this coffee shop is indeed the next logical step in the rebirth of a very historic part of Birmingham. The coffee is from Madcap; the delicious lunch we sampled included braised oxtail empanadas and a paté melt. Armand Margjeka and Kyle Campbell are the partners behind this new business. Directly across the street is Margjeka’s concept store Open Shop (above), whose design sense and product stock is again a bit jaw-dropping for those unfamiliar with Woodlawn’s current resurgence. After an expresso across the street, it’s worth a visit. And then stroll back down to First Avenue North and dream about what project may emerge next. Congrats to all of those who had a vision for change in Woodlawn; we can’t wait to see more. Walk, drive, or cycle to the new café as quickly as you can!