INSIDE GROUNDED, a mural of a young woman wearing a brightly flowered hat greets you with a distant gaze, her long braids curling around cacti. Positioned over an inviting green couch, the intriguing work by artist Christin Apodaca invites you to get comfortable and stay awhile.

Located on East Las Cruces Avenue and North Main Street, the coffee shop and lounge feels like the beating heart of downtown Las Cruces. Like a well of energy, it draws and contributes to a crowd of New Mexico State University students, small business owners, and other locals. Large front windows bathe the two-level space and its cheery pink, green, and yellow hues in natural light. The scent of roasting coffee wafts over the tables, where flowers from neighboring Petal & Pink Co. add a pop of life. “It’s a safe space for people,” says Kendra Espiritu, whose family opened Grounded in 2021.

Inspiration for Grounded began a decade ago on one of the Espiritu family’s volleyball tournament road trips. In each town, Tony, Sandra, and their children, Kendra, Kaitlin, and Garrett, would stop at a different coffee shop, creating a list of favorites. “It was more of a dream for the kids,” says Tony, of their plan to someday open their own place. The idea lingered in the background of their lives until 2020, when Tony retired from the Las Cruces Fire Department, Kendra graduated from NMSU, and the family resurrected their passion project.

Kendra, Kaitlin, Tony, Sandra, and Garrett Espiritu—the family behind Grounded—take a moment to relax in front of the vibrant mural by Christin Apodaca. Photograph courtesy of Grounded.

When the location formerly occupied by Main Street Vintage Mercado became available, the Espiritus jumped at the space, which they now own, and spent a year renovating the interior and spacious courtyard patio. “Everything was aligned,” Kendra says.

Grounded opened with a plant-forward kitchen featuring wood-fired pizza, wine, and coffee. They also put their own spin on traditional Mexican American drinks and dishes, including horchata oats and the mole salmon salad. “This was an opportunity to commit to our dream,” says Tony.

Grounded’s logo, featuring a sacred heart and hollyhocks, reminds the Espiritus of their values and what it means to be a part of something larger. “Grounded is a cute play on words, like coffee grounds, but it’s grounded in the sense of your being and being present in life,” Kendra says. “It’s our family, our roots, our culture.”

Read more: Mesilla’s strong connection to its Mexican past infuses its present with an intoxicating blend of history, culture, and community.


300 N Main St., Las Cruces; 575-571-4047