Vegan cafe perfect for the ‘free thinker’

Jeff Moses

The Conspire Collective, located at 901 N. 5th St. in downtown Phoenix’s Roosevelt row, has been a hub for artists and anarchists since November 2007.

The brightly painted house was converted into a small restaurant, retail collective, art gallery, and library.

The front lawn of the property features a stage for Conspire’s many musical and open mic events. It also has a horseshoe restaurant booth, picnic tables and a fire pit.

On the back end of the property sits a half pipe for skateboarders, rollerbladers and BMX bikers, which recently hosted Conspire’s first ever Skate Jam on Jan. 22.

The artists’ collective welcomes artists of all styles; from painters to graffiti artists, to “Andy,” a Rastafarian who makes rainbow braids and other traditional Rastafarian art.

“I’ve always been more of a free-thinking radical, I believe in the evolution of society and being more open and experimental,” said Joey G., one of the founders of Conspire.

Joey said he always envisioned Conspire as a hang out for revolutionaries and “that didn’t always jive with the retail collective” because they would prefer a more clean-cut crowd.

Conspire’s current owner, Nathaniel Burns, also sees Conspire as place for free thinkers, and many different activist groups including, but not limited to, The Phoenix Anarchist Coalition, The Phoenix Mayday Action Committee, and Occupy Phoenix meet at the vegan cafe.

Burns discovered Conspire looking for a late night coffee shop to do homework.

“I had some coffee at Joe Bot and kept walking down the street and there was five or six women doing a choreographed hula hoop dance in the front yard (of Conspire) and we said ‘lets go here’, and fell in love” said Burns.

Conspire is just one of the places in the Roosevelt district that adds a flare of artistic culture to the metropolitan Phoenix area.

Burns said he was a bit concerned about the recent city of Phoenix crackdown on the very similar Firehouse Collective, and he feels like Phoenix is trying to keep the businesses in that area “under the thumb.”

As of now, Conspire isn’t going anywhere and Burns dreams of a day when he can put a Conspire vegan food truck across the street from every McDonalds.

Until then, he offers a 20 percent discount to all students, and school faculty who come with a school I.D.

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These are archived stories from Mesa Legend editions before Fall 2018. See article for corresponding author.

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