Folk’s on Fourth

Folks on Fourth(1)

The heartbeat of a neighborhood can be taken with a visit to the local coffee shop. Sit there long enough and you’ll understand the challenges, you’ll meet the characters, and you’ll eventually come to understand why people call a place home. For the Brooklyn Arts District, Folk’s on Fourth is that coffee shop.


“This is completely a community coffee shop,” say Tammy Pacini, co-owner of Folk’s on Fourth and Folk’s on Princess. “When we aren’t working, you have people saying Where is Juan? Where is Tammy? Which is nice because that means that they care about you…It hits your heart when you go to places and people say, Oh hey! I know you! It’s really touching.”


IMG_0491_EDITWhen Juan and Tammy met in Ecuador 40 years ago, they had no clue that they would one day be running a coffee shop in North Carolina. Tammy says that they often even thought about retiring to Argentina, “and then the first granddaughter came around and I said, ‘No, we’re not going anywhere.’”


It’s obvious that family is the backbone of Folk’s on Fourth, but not everyone can mix family and business together as well as the Pacinis. When I ask Tammy if there’s a secret, she doesn’t provide me with any mystical insight; she’s realistic, as most of us have to be when dealing with family.

“It has really good things and other things that aren’t as good. If you’re together 24/7, there is nothing to talk about, but at the same time, it can be awesome…I love to see how proud he {Juan} is of what he has done here. It really warms my heart after all these years.”


But just like working with anyone, different personalities will clash from time to time: “When I started working my daughter, the two of us are really strong minded, but now, working together comes easily.” It’s the shared traits that will always get through though: “The three of us are really hardworking people and if someone comes up with an idea, we know that we can say let’s fix this, let’s do it this way a little bit, but yet, we can do it. And we do it!”


Which is mainly how the Pacini’s acquired Folk’s. They decided to take the plunge after not even living in Wilmington for six months, but sometimes you have to jump in the deep end. “I love the fact that we did it because when you come from another state or another country you need to try to get to know people, to be able to get into the community. But this was perfect. People were coming to us and the shop already had a very nice clientele. All we did was enlarge that.”


It’s the same go with the gut, jump in with both feet sentiment that helped Juan and Tammy acquire the second location. Originally a detox center, Juan completely renovated the building with help from family and friends. This meant knocking down walls, turning closets into nooks, ripping up carpet, and installing local artwork. Visit the Folk’s on Fourth location and you’ll be hard pressed to imagine it in its original state. Now quaint café tables, recycled chairs, and refinished floors welcome the various patrons throughout the day. While I’m sure there are many that stick to the traditional coffee, Folk’s is definitely the place to try something new.

Folks on Fourth FOTC(1)

Juan is from Colombia and Tammy is from Ecuador and they bring their international heritage to the coffee shop by providing coffee drinks like lagrima, cortado, and pana. But there’s more than coffee! Try the delicious empanadas for lunch, followed by a macaron (or two) with the homemade dulche de leche. And if you’re trying to get breakfast on the go, the egg soufflé wrap is a must! Cooked with no oil and completely vegetarian, the wrap is the perfect way to start the day on a healthy note.

If you find yourself in the Brooklyn Arts District, visit Folk’s and tell Tammy and Juan hello. You’re sure to walk away with new friends.