My Armenian Café - George Town

Picture wall for the "My Armenian Café" made by "The GrassVan" - Carolin Feneis and Ellen Heinrich

This is a text about our time in the „My Armenian Café“. This café lies in the heart of George Town, a city with a creative and exciting atmosphere.



You definitely need to be lucky to find a job in George Town and we have been very lucky. It all started in October 2013 , two years ago, when Tobi was for a few weeks in Malaysia on his own due to a visa reasons. Back then he was couchsurfing with the best Couchsurfing family we know: Sherylin, Sam and their kids Isabell and Adam.


One fine day, Tobi was strolling through the streets when he passed a gallery. Attracted by a picture, Tobi entered the store and had a conversation with the gallery owner. It took them


about ten minutes before Tobi thanked her for the chat and left, but what does this short encounter has to do with our luck? Well, back to the present: Now, it was all three of us who were exploring George Town and ist heritage area when we entered a  café with gallery and souvenir shop. Tobi got into a conversation with the owner and she said that she would know him from somewhere. Tobi was irritated as he had never been around that area before and couldn´t remember her face, but then it came out that Alyssa, was the owner from the previously mentioned gallery and had just moved to this new place. So, Tobi has met the same lady he had met 2 years and 2 days before (her guestbook proved it). The conversation changed and that was basically the start of our collaboration with Alyssa and  the „My Armenian Café“ as well as the start of our very own „The GrassVan“ project. Thanks to our never-ending effort and work for the café we were able to earn enough money to pay for the start of our first own product range consisting of the natural body oils, soaps, scrub, balm and T-Shirts including the costs for printing our labels, the packing, printing, etc.


Those four months got the ball rolling. We got started to make our dreams and ideas come true, which also meant to deal with a constant lack of sleep and lots of hard work, but also involved  great friendships and encounters with inspiring people with an amazing result in the end.


We can proudly say that we managed to create a beautiful café with a relaxed yet artistic atmosphere in Lebuh Armenian. We set up an appealing menu as well as proper standards for the running business, managed and run the café for 3 months, improved the interior design with little means, designed the whole branding including logo, business cards, flyers and banners and organized a good offer of different workshops on the second floor. Tobi showed off his craftsmanship skills by building tables, benches and high tables all by himself as well as making a wonderful play corner for children together with our friend Jonas. Even Nina and Jacob from the Phujel School came to visit and help us and built up a shelf for the storage area.  


 Ellen und Jonas


Those two are definitely one of a kind. You could say that from the moment we met them till the moment they had to leave we we were almost like identical quadruplets. For 6 weeks no-one could separate us. Their charm and character were a substantial contribution to the positive development of  the café and sparked our own ideas. Ellen, the graphic designer and artist made a wonderful Mandala on the signature wall oft he café - the new Street Art of George Town which gave the interior the final touch. Jonas, a professional IT man and skilled handy man helped out wherever he could and was our tower of strength with his humorus, calm and inspiring nature.


The two of them are traveling with their Landrover Defender around the world. They came from Germany to Malaysia with it and continue their journey towards Australia. If you want to read more about their adventures go on their website intothefar. And just in case you need a professional website those two digital nomads are the right contact address.


 Workshops im My Armenian Café


Where to start and where to stop we wonder? There are simply too many good stories to tell. One more is about the task to start a workshop schedule, plan what kind of workshops we will offer and organize them. Just when it was about time getting started with that project it happened that everything flew into our arms. First we met Bella and Omar playing music and selling jewellery in the streets of George Town.  Bella, a beautiful Russian lady and Omar a Peruvian shaman offered music therapy in the café. Therefore they played Hang and Didgeridoo, a wonderful combination of music instruments. Two days later Urs and his partner Corrie visited us in the café. Corrie offered yoga lessons and Urs, a professional painter was so wonderful to paint  a few walls for us. Thank you so much for that.


We also have to tell you about Alyssa, the owner of the gallery. Without her unbelievable way of open her café, gallery and shop as well as her heart for us we wouldn´t have had all those wonderful and amazing experiences. Shem made it happen. A few minutes of conversation where enough for her to decide to give it a try and trust our skills. Her slogan: „Boleh, Boleh“ - which means „Can, Can“. That was the start of „My Armenian Café“.


Max had the most wonderful time as he got treated like a little prince by Alyssa, her wonderful father, and mom, Shirley, Louisan and all the friends we made. 


The very last thing we have to mention is the story behind the picture above. Malaysia is one of the top countries that cannot live without „selfies“ (self-made pictures, normally taken with a mobile phone). Every Malaysian takes hundreds of them to post it on social media. This and the fact that Ernest Zacharevic, a famous street art artist made the beginning of Malaysian street art with his first painting in 2012 gave Ellen from intothefar the idea to create a very own picture wall featuring the café scene of the „My Armenian Café“ as well as offering a nice possibility tot he Malaysians for taking some more selfies. Together with Jonas she started on the wall, built it up and made the sketch for it. The time was too short and so we finished it and let it come true.


 A beautiful farewell gift for the „My Armenian Café“ and George Town.

Write a comment

Comments: 1
  • #1

    Marie and Daniel (Monday, 26 September 2016 16:08)

    Hello Alyssa

    We would love to say we had a wonderful gluten free chocolate cake on our visit to Georgetown in August 2016.
    Keep up the excellent work.