The Moon Sisters have a favorite phrase around their cafe: “I have an idea.”
Those words have resulted in a lot of creative collaborations between the two women (related by friendship, not by blood), including their most spectacular feat to date: a “Harry Potter”-themed cafe they’ve dubbed The Cheeky Cauldron.
The Lincoln City cafe on Oregon’s central coast is a love letter to “Harry Potter” fandom, and since the grand opening last summer it’s attracted passionate fans, curious tourists and coastal locals alike.
“It surprises me how far people are coming to come and see us,” said Raven Moon, whose legal name is Christina Kell. “It’s obviously more than food, it’s definitely something to see.”
Like most cafes on the coast, the Cheeky Cauldron serves simple fare and sweet treats, alongside coffee and other drinks. But unlike any other spot, it is steeped in Harry Potter fandom, from the decor down to the dishware.
Casual fans of the Harry Potter series will recognize a lot from the books and movies, while devoted fans will have more to pore over. Get to the bottom of a bowl and you might spot The Grim, for example, or scan the walls to find hidden references and messages. You can even order up a butterbrew latte and it might come with a Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Bean on top — to eat at your own risk.
“We try to make it as magical as possible,” said Willow Moon, whose legal name is Crystal Areal.
“We keep adding and adding, there’s so many layers,” Raven added. “That’s the fun of it”
The two, both diehard Harry Potter fans, are like a two-headed dragon pulling all the strings. Both women say they share a brain, and their collaborative vision has resulted in a business that is not only a successful local cafe, but also a unique attraction that has already drawn fans from around the region.
They attribute their success to the passionate Harry Potter fanbase, as well as their use of social media to spread the word. The Cheeky Cauldron is active on just about every major social media platform, including TikTok, where they operate a main account in addition to a “secret” account (find the handle hidden inside the cafe).
When Harry Potter fans discover, and eventually visit, the cafe, their excitement can turn into an emotional experience, the Moon Sisters said. Some scream, some cry, some simply walk through and take it all in.
One such fan, Linnea Karlsson, visited The Cheeky Cauldron a few days before Christmas, in town from Vancouver with her parents, who recently moved to the central coast. She eventually sat down with some chocolate frogs and a lunch menu, but first she had to explore the place, from the shelves stocked with potions to the “pink room,” where small tables sit under dim lighting beneath posters and plates adorned with cats — a reference to the Hogwarts office of reviled character Dolores Umbridge.
Karlsson, a lifelong fan of the series — especially the movies — said the cafe was unlike anything she’d ever seen before, and with so much detail, it was a lot to take in.
“I’ve never been here so I’m just looking,” she said. She would have a lot to report home to her brothers, who are big Harry Potter fans themselves.
“They’re going to be jealous,” she said.
For the Moon Sisters, their “Harry Potter” fandom is also deeply personal. Both women identify as practicing witches, and have felt welcomed by the fictional world’s embrace of magic. Willow Moon said when she first read the books in 1998, it felt like she was “coming home.”
“Those were my people,” she said. “And I just felt it deep in my soul that if I could just go and find and live in Hogwarts for the rest of my life, I would be deeply eternally happy.”
That sense of community is an important part of The Cheeky Cauldron, the Moon Sisters said, especially as some fans feel disconnected from “Harry Potter” following the backlash against author J.K. Rowling, who in recent years has been accused of making transphobic remarks. Willow and Raven Moon said they disagree with Rowling’s comments, and have worked to separate the artist from her art, seeing their cafe as an opportunity to help people reclaim their connection to their fandom.
“We’re kind of turning it into our own thing, we have our own memories and things that we’re doing with it that are separate from her,” Raven said. “Imagine us giving up on ‘Harry Potter’ right now, it’s heartbreaking.”
Back in the kitchen, the Moon Sisters were making up a lunch order and dreaming of the future. Already, the two feel like they’re outgrowing their small indoor space and adjacent outdoor seating area, where they are hoping to begin hosting birthday parties or even weddings. A bigger space would mean more room to spread their wings and exercise that trademark flair for creativity.
“I’ve already decided we need a life-sized dragon,” Raven said, piecing together a banana and blueberry tart.
“Ooo a life-sized dragon, I can picture it climbing up the side of the building,” Willow said, brewing coffee.
That back-and-forth process is how The Cheeky Cauldron was born in the first place, they said, and how it continues to evolve. Once an idea is planted, it grows and grows, watered by the two witches behind the scenes.
“We share a brain, so,” Willow started.
“The idea doesn’t get squashed, it gets amplified,” Raven said, finishing her thought.
“It gets morphed and perfected,” Willow added.
The lunch rush had barely ended before the Moon Sisters were at it again, the ideas flowing from their minds like a fresh Butterbrew latte. It will be hard to top their greatest idea, however: the Harry Potter cafe that is just starting to brew up excitement on the Oregon coast.
The Cheeky Cauldron is open 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Thurs.-Sun. (hours may vary); located at 1640 N.E. Highway 101, Lincoln City; 541-614-0693; thecheekycauldron.com.