1805 Lincolnway West
A neighborhood thrives when there are places for the people to come together.
I always wanted to find a "place". When envisioning what that "place" would be, there were two clear parts of the vision. First, I would be a "regular" (you know, one of those people that sit down and the staff already know your "usual" without even having to ask). Second, there would be lots of neighbors there. I guess the vision was pretty much a diverse "Cheers", except in diner form.
The Sunrise Cafe is that place for me.
South Bend is a complex place, with a lot of great things going on, but also a lot that divides us. Communities are often split by race, class, and language. Restaurants often appeal to one segment or another, but the Sunrise Cafe is the only place I have visited that seems to truly belong to the people -- all of the people.
Walk in the door of the small cafe on any day and you will see a beautiful diversity of race, language, and background. Mechanics, professors, police officers, businesswomen, the retired, the unemployed, and even pastors from across the spectrum fill the small room with conversation. One of my favorite parts is the chatting and bantering that can take place at times from table to table. It reminds me of cafeteria eating from my school days. Constantly I'm finding myself connect with someone (other than just who I came with) in a meaningful way.
I have no clue what makes the Sunrise what it is. I would love to know how it became (intentionally or unintentionally) a place where everyone can feel comfortable. I would love to hear why others have found it to be not just a great place to grab breakfast, but a safe and familiar place to experience community life. The management I have met have always been very friendly and open. I would imagine that is a big part of it.
All I know is that coming from a childhood in the "suburbs", the Sunrise Cafe is one of those places that presents the beauty of what is gained from city life. And the Northwest side is better as a result.
If you, too, love the Sunrise Cafe or have an idea why it's so special, share it with me!