Coffee, Tea, And Fantasy: The Requiem Cafe

  Requiem: Coffee, Tea, and Fantasy is a cafe in Anaheim, California created by Kris Irons that looks to immerse visitors in a fantastical experience while providing an open space for queer people, those searching for community or anyone craving a delicious treat.

  The Requiem cafe came along as a result of Irons’ own experiences through tough times, and wanting to create a space where visitors could escape from their current woes and relax in a fantasy setting. “Whether it is a forest, castle, or spaceship, [visitors] could choose their own form of escapism.”

“The Fortis” tree sculpture inside Requiem.

  Requiem was a long project that took many years to come to fruition. The idea’s inception was in 2014, but  finally had its grand opening in 2019. “To be honest, I think the hardest part of it is trying to balance the huge empathy I have with people like me who need places like Requiem, and to identify and set boundaries with people who see it as a cool thing they want to exploit and take it for themselves. It has been something about people I never wanted to learn but ended up having to.” Requiem would see some mainstream crossover by working with Blizzard to create Overwatch themed food for The Overwatch Cookbook for the 2019 version of Blizzcon.

  However, the world had other plans for the fledgling cafe, as the outbreak of COVID-19 seriously halted Irons’ plans. “I spent six years of my life at that point making something that’s whole message was ‘no matter what is happening in the world, you can come here and find peace and camaraderie.’ [Meanwhile,] the world said ‘stay at home and stay away from people for God knows how long.’ It was hard to not feel like the universe was against me at that point.”

  Despite the setback, Requiem would still power through. Through the power of social media, the cafe would see fans clamor for a reopening. which rolled out slowly in 2021. More partnerships would follow Requiem’s re-opening, with the first being the Persona video games. Following Persona, Requiem would host official events for the video game Undertale, the internet webcomic Homestuck, anime streaming service Crunchyroll, and Disney’s television show The Owl House, which is currently ongoing.

“Palisman Waffles” available during The Owl House collaboration.
Various menu options available during the Homestuck event in April 2023. From left to right: Sburb Soda Beta, Strawberry Lalonde, Pumpkin Rodeo, Dave’s Apple Juice.

With so many big events and riding off the wave of yet another large one, Irons described what success meant to them as “subjective.” Irons then laid out their feelings on the continued workings of Requiem. “Requiem always feels like a work in progress to me, but it has done so much more than I imagined it would. I am just glad the spirit and message of Requiem seems to resonate so much with people, and that it has found and spoken to a lot of people who want it as a place to call home.” The recent crossover events have absolutely helped in bringing more eyes to both Requiem and the community it fosters “The biggest inspiration is seeing people fall in love with niche franchises all over again or making friends here. Nothing beats that. To the earlier point, that is what success looks like to me.”

  For those interested in visiting the Requiem Cafe, Irons leaves off with “I am always down to talk to people and answer questions. You will often see me around Requiem with my fluffy white hair. Come say hi if you want [or] if you want to ask anything of me.”

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