Red Velvet Café
246 S. 4th St., Columbus, OH 43215
Between the dilapidated rows of brick and mortars, around the corner from a pawn shop and empty storefronts, we find the strip of businesses that could very well usher in the revitalization of Downtown Columbus. This block is home to veteran businesses like Dirty Frank’s, Little Palace and El Camino. With the addition of the wildly successful 16-Bit Bar+Arcade, the momentum has begun to build.
In this collection of familiar faces, we find a newcomer in the mix — Red Velvet Café. Red Velvet is run by Krizzia Yanga, whose parents own the original location in Pickerington. Like many young adults in the city, Krizzia has always dreamed of owning her own business. But success is built on more than dreams and wishes…
Originally a Canadian import, Krizzia was raised in Columbus. Her motivation and drive were apparent at a young age.
She started practicing Tae Kwan Do during grade school. This hobby would become a full-fledged passion for over 10 year (5years traditional and 5 years Olympic sparring–we have seen her break a plank of wood with her bare hands, it is terrifyingly awesome). She credits her training for instilling in her dedication, discipline and the determination to master a skill.
After high school, Krizzia began her schooling at The Ohio State University. Here, she pursued a degree in International Business. Never one to be lethargic, she soon became an active sister in the Kappa Phi Lambda sorority, as well as other organizations on campus, including the Multi-Cultural Greek Council.
Upon earning her degree, Krizzia accepted a finance job at an IT firm in Chicago. While she enjoyed her position and the city life, something was missing from the experience.
She had a yearning to experience new things, which her busy lifestyle didn’t afford her. This is when she received that fateful call from her mother.
A New Journey
It’s an interesting situation when your mother asks you if you’re ready to start a business. Some people would decline this risky proposition; however, this was just the inspiration that Krizzia needed. She quickly left her job in Chicago to move back to Columbus.
Much like the original Red Velvet Café location, which her father opened upon losing his job; this decision was inspired by a need. In Krizzia’s case, her desire to own a business had finally come full circle.
While the original Red Velvet Café was doing well in Pickerington, Krizzia wanted to carve her own legacy. She began scouting locations within Columbus city limits. They looked at storefronts in Grandview, Bexley and Polaris before settling on their current location in the Downtown area.
Krizzia originally noticed the spot after a night out at 16-Bit Bar+Arcade. It was absolutely perfect and after a quick negotiation period, it was theirs. Following a lengthy construction and decoration phase, Red Velvet was beginning to look like a reality. Krizzia expresses how grateful she is to all of her friends and neighbors: “It was overwhelming how supportive everyone has been during this process. My employees have been prepping with me since way back in November.”
To further the legitimacy of the business, Krizzia attended a week of Barista School in Portland. She brought the secrets of the trade back and conferred it upon her staff. They accepted it with open arms.
On March 14th, Red Velvet opened to the public. The café debuted to a tremendous reception. “We completely sold out for the first few days of business,” recalls Krizzia proudly.
She is thankful for the support of other local businesses including One Line Coffee and Kolache Republic, among many others.
Red Velvet Cafe offers a number of worldly flavors and items. Patrons will find a bevy of meticulously hand-crafted coffees and pastries. All recipes are original imaginings from Krizzia and her mother. For those with a heftier craving, there are also Philipino-style sandwiches and some snacks like Avocado Toast. The beef panini was our favorite, hands down.
Not ones to waste, the staff donates uneaten items to Faith Mission, a homeless shelter near the Columbus State Community College campus.
The atmosphere of the café is reflective of the neighborhood; small, unique and possessing an intimate environment. The location next to other local favorites makes this block the perfect spot for an all day visit.
Stepping into the café on a busy Saturday evening, you definitely get a sense for the energy of the community.
“It’s funny,” Krizzia recounts. When I was young, I always wanted to leave this city. But as I grew up, Columbus grew up with me.”
With about 3 weeks of experience under their belt, the Red Velvet crew is feeling positive about their situation. When all the pieces of your business are running smoothly, the only way to go is up.
As they continue to grow, Krizzia hopes to expand their menu and offerings. She is not afraid to experiment as long as it results in high-quality fare for their customers to enjoy.
During our hangout, she mentions the lack of Philipino restaurants in the city. Perhaps they would be the ones to fill the void. However, this seems to be more of a long term goal.
For now, Krizzia is putting 110% into the cafe, because something like this deserves all of your attention.
“There’s nothing about my job that is guaranteed, my success is contingent on how hard I want to work for it. I know I am privileged to chase my dreams, and I am humbled by the support of my friends and family, and the community around me.”
If you haven’t already, it’s time to drop into Red Velvet for a drink and a bite. Just make sure to try that beef panini.