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New coffee truck opens in Speedway; aims to bring near west side community together

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River West.jpg
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Posted at 5:43 PM, Apr 10, 2019

INDIANAPOLIS — An idea that started as an urban garden quickly turned to the creation of a coffee truck for Speedway resident, Marcia Zgirta.

River West Coffee & Tea truck aims to not only support commuters with a drive-through espresso bar but to be a gathering space for the near west side community. The owner of River West, Zgirta, sought one goal when signing a year-long contract with the City of Speedway in September: to be of assistance to the youth on the near west side.

"I felt called to join the communities of near west Indy in helping youth there find a sense of purpose and value in life," Zgirta said. "We would hire, train and mentor local youth, as well as provide a peaceful environment with free Wi-Fi in which they can do their homework."

In 2018 Zgirta and her husband asked local community leaders what the neighborhood was lacking, and most often they heard that the area needed a coffee shop.

"The plan is to use the truck to build a support base of commuters that would help the eventual brick and mortar shop to be sustainable," the owner said. "The truck is just a step toward what we really hope to and are working toward doing, which is to open an espresso house, with affordable treats, so that the youth and community on the near west side have a place to gather in a peaceful environment."

Zgirta says she and her husband have several years of experience developing youth. Their latest inspiration is from Father Greg Boyle, author of "Tattoos on the Heart" and what it's done in the barrios of Los Angeles.

"We would seek to collaborate with the west side youth organizations as well. Training and mentoring those we employ, building relationships with those who frequent the shop," Zgirta said. "Offering tutoring for homework, having Friday night arts nights where students can display their written and musical talents, and put their art on display.

Zgirta and her husband's house is currently on the market and once it sells they will build a home on a plot of land they own on Bellevue Street, near Haughville Park.

"[We] Hope to play pick up soccer with kids in the park on weekends. That is a wee bit more of the dream," she said.

The River West Coffee & Tea truck returned to the Speedway area from Indiana University Purdue University - Indianapolis campus on Wednesday.

The truck can be found at 4501 West 16th Street, across from turn two at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway track. The menu includes an espresso bar packed with hot, iced and frozen drinks; a variety of hot and cold teas; smoothies and snacks.

For more information on River West and the truck's whereabouts, visit their Facebook page.

River West Coffee & Tea
4501 West 16th Street
Monday - Friday: 7 a.m. - 3 p.m.