By Kevin Haas
Rock River Current
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ROCKFORD — Lola Renner and Taylor Seitz are blending their passion for food and knowledge of all things cannabis for a new cafe focused on high (no pun intended) quality products.
The Canna Cafe celebrated its grand opening Thursday inside The Hemp Center of Northern Illinois, a cannabis health and wellness shop Renner opened in 2019. They cut the ribbon at 4:20 p.m. on April 20, or 4/20, the unofficial marijuana holiday.
The cafe, 6830 Spring Creek Road, offers sandwiches and soups and non-alcoholic cocktails that you can get infused with hemp-derived cannabis products such as delta-8, delta-9, THCA, CBD, CBG, CBA and other cannabinoids.
“It’s 100% legal: all hemp-derived products within the rights of the Farm Bill,” Seitz said. “Everything comes third-party tested. … We do a lot of research before we bring any product in here.”
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The owners want to create a low-pressure atmosphere where you can learn about hemp and cannabis whether you want your food and drinks infused or not.
“We wanted to create a space that no matter what you were into — any walk of life — that you would feel welcome,” Seitz said.
Renner said she wants The Canna Cafe to be a place where people can relax and hang out.
“When you go to the dispensary you’re in and out really quick,” Renner said. “We want you to get to know us. Hang out, relax, get an education about this stuff: why it works, how it works, the different laws.”
Renner, who previously owned the nearby Josef’s Steakhouse & Oyster Bar until it closed at the end of last year, has worked in the food and beverage industry for more than 18 years. She also has more than six years in the medical cannabis industry and a small background in pharmacy.
Seitz similarly worked in the medical cannabis industry locally and has a background in horticulture.
“We kind of put everything together,” he said.
There are a wide variety of hemp products, including some from locally owned Buckbee Weed Co. For now, it’s manned by a staff of four, but they hope to expand.
Renner said she decided to close Josef’s in part to put her focus on opening Canna Cafe. Josef’s is now being remodeled to reopen with a similar menu and name. Renner and Seitz said they’re happy to have them as neighbors.
At Canna Cafe your menu options include an applewood smoked ham sandwich with aged cheddar, a roasted turkey sandwich with cranberry goat cheese and vegan options loaded with veggies, hummus and vegan cream cheese.
Popular drinks include its homemade bong water, a ginger-based water with various flavor infusions, and a multitude of mocktails.
“This is just the start,” Seitz said. “Give us a month or two to get us cooking and there’s going to be a lot of options here.”
About | The Canna Cafe
Location: 6830 Spring Creek Road, Rockford (Inside The Hemp Center of Northern Illinois)
Hours: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; 815-977-3364