Correction to This Article
A Dec. 7 Metro article stated that the Kanye West Foundation donated money to finance the Good Water Store and Cafe. Kanye West gave the money directly to his father, the cafe's owner, rather than through his foundation.

How'd You Like Your Water?

Owner Ray West, father of rapper Kanye West, with a bottle of his store's water. The business is billed as the first of its kind in Maryland.
Owner Ray West, father of rapper Kanye West, with a bottle of his store's water. The business is billed as the first of its kind in Maryland. (Mark Gail - Twp)

Network News

X Profile
View More Activity
By Michael Tunison
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, December 7, 2006

Imagine, if you will: Seated in your cushy red leather chair, you peer up from your laptop for a moment to concentrate on the poet onstage. Liking what you hear, you take a sip of the house special and gaze back toward the bar, where the logo of a famous rapper's record label engulfs the wall, and you wonder how they mixed the two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen just so.

Welcome to the water cafe.

And where is this luxe locale? SoHo? South Beach? Santa Monica?

Nope.

Lexington Park, St. Mary's County. In a strip mall with a Food Lion, a Chinese takeout, Radio Shack, discount stores and Buffalo Wings and Beer.

The Good Water Store and Cafe, which opened last month, is billed as the first of its kind in Maryland. You get your drinks here clear and clean -- actually, clean, cleaner and cleanest. Three grades of purity.

And there's another surprise: The word "Good" in the cafe's name is an acronym for Getting Out Our Dreams, which, not coincidentally, is shared by the music label founded by platinum-selling rapper Kanye West. For good reason: West's father, Ray, owns the cafe. He lives in Lexington Park.

The rapper, through his charity, the Kanye West Foundation, lent money for the creation of the cafe, and, his father notes, he may make the occasional visit.

The cafe, in St. Mary's Square, has all the trappings of the modern coffeehouse: WiFi, flat-screen TVs, performance space, relaxed neighborhood vibe -- all in a town with a six-lane main road littered with fast-food joints and big-box stores and an economy largely dependent on its military base.

Business is sluggish so far -- the cafe just finalized its menu last week and the sign on the marquee isn't up yet -- but it has generated excitement.

"This is something we don't have -- a place for people to come hang out, talk or use the Net," said customer Gloria Eisner, who said she's in her 20s. "You can go to a bar or you can drive to D.C., and that takes two hours."

If you're not quite sure what a water cafe is, you're not alone.


CONTINUED     1           >

© 2006 The Washington Post Company

Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity