Coffee, a menu full of nutritious, locally grown food, and an old church full of smiling, happy faces. Cafe Appalachia is just as innovative, as the menu is delicious.
It’s taken some time for owner, Cheryl Laws, to get it off the ground. “It’s a baby,” she said. “That’s what I’ve said, nine months. It’s taken nine months.”
The open kitchen is staffed with folks who are recovering from addiction. People like Emily- the cafe’s barista. Laws said, “She is in long-term recovery. The reintegration part is the hardest part for her, finding people where she can be who she is.”
So that’s what Laws and her non-profit, Pollen8, is focusing on- that reintegration back into society after rehab.
The cafe is one of Pollen8’s ventures. It’s modeled after one that Laws spent much of her time in while she was getting her Masters degree from Appalachian State University.
Her son is the inspiration. “He needed a place where he could be his own, and not what someone expects him to be,” Laws said. “I saw this concept and I thought, well, this is it. This is a win, win.”
Here, it’s about paying what you can afford. Pay what you can. If you can afford a little bit more, pay a little bit more, that will go towards feeding someone else.
More than anything, the owners here hope that you take home maybe some leftovers, but also, that sense of community that they say is lacking sometimes in today’s society.
Laws has had the opportunity to do a lot of things, in a number of cities. But she’s chosen to come back to Southern Appalachia, to make a difference here.
“This is going to make me cry, but I have granddaughters here. They need me. I want to know them. I love this place. This is where I grew up. I think that if you are given the heart to help, especially in the world right now, you have to use your medicine.”
Cafe Appalachia’s menu changes daily.
You can read more about their mission and goals, as well as see their hours and photos here.