Breaking the mystery behind Franklin

If you’re looking for a good meal and good people, check out these places.

Maggie Habashy

Franklin Avenue is home to restaurants and cafés such as Pizza Lucé, Seward Café and 2nd Moon Coffee Café. These places have been specifically characterized by many around campus as “scary and weird.”

Quite frankly, I wouldn’t think to go to any of those places along Franklin Avenue. According to rumors, only “cult-following hippie weirdos” hang out there; why would anyone think to go there? To prove the rumors are correct the only way to find out was to experience it firsthand.

First stop, Pizza Lucé, which happened to be a quiet, classy restaurant. I didn’t feel scared or nervous; I did feel a little hungry. The smell of freshly baked pizza filled the restaurant.

Eric Zakis, a vegan employee said, “Most of their customers are businessmen on their breaks or holding meetings.” It’s a great place because they have a large vegetarian menu.

I was a little disappointed when I was not able to find any “weirdos.” I figured I would be able to reaffirm everyone’s belief at my next stop, Seward Café. Seward Café was a little intimidating to enter. However, the pledge card on the entrance that stated, “We honor compassionate actions for animals,” helped me feel more comfortable.

I could tell they were closing for the day. It occurred to me that it was a breakfast and lunch restaurant. I noticed the green plants that flooded the windows and a relatively large bookcase for free checkout. The restaurant was very comfortable and laid-back. The unisex bathrooms were eye-catching. No one could deny the smell of grandma’s house that filled the air.

Seward Café had a very interesting initiative. The employees there explained to me that everyone working at the Café was essentially a manager and an owner. The word “collective” was mentioned on many occasions. The Café was first opened to promote healthy food and lifestyles to the public. The Café’s general mission is to educate people, and to maintain their “collective” reputation. The employees worked together as though there were no outside world. There were no students in the restaurant, but the employees tell me around lunchtime students enjoy completely vegetarian options, except for one dish, and their reasonable prices.

Still, I wasn’t finding any “weirdos.” I was able to find people who believed in working collectively and being unified. The “no superiority and no authority” attitude puts Seward Café customers at ease.

Although the weirdos were nowhere to be found, I did not lose hope. I made my way down the street to 2nd Moon Coffee Café.

The bulletin board at the entrance read “for the people, by the people” and really captured the essence of the place. Leaflets for activism, arts and other ads expressed the open-mindedness of the patrons. By the entrance was a small bookshelf with different types of used novels and children’s books. The sign above stated: “What goes around comes around, so take a book home and bring a different one back.”

That sign made me value the atmosphere of 2nd Moon. They seemed very open-minded about the people around them. As for the weirdos, Petra Puhl, an employee there, explained to me that most of their customers are East African. Aside from having a very homey tone with their beat-up couches, they make the best chai and homemade cookies. If that does not satisfy your craving, they have a freezer full of Häagen-Dazs ice cream that no one could resist.

I ended my exploration with nothing but bittersweet feelings. I was pleased to discover such open-minded places to enjoy.

I can now rest everyone’s fears about the mystery behind Franklin Avenue. If you are looking for new places in the area to try, or a quiet place to study, check out the restaurants or coffee shops on Franklin Avenue. You won’t regret it.

Maggie Habashy welcomes comments at [email protected]