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Coffee shop reclaims its role in Lafayette

11/1/2012 8:15 AM
By Associated Press

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — The words are inscribed on a piece of art near the back of the coffeehouse: "retrieve, recover something lost or stolen, given or paid for, delivered from danger, rescued, saved, especially from the power of sin; a saved soul."

It's the definition for "reclaim," and April O'Brien, Sacred Ground Reclaimed's manager, hadn't even seen it until after she had named the coffeehouse. After she saw the definition, though, she knew it fit everything the shop was trying to do perfectly.

Sacred Grounds Reclaimed, the newest incarnation of the former Sacred Grounds, opened in September. The coffeehouse and deli celebrated its grand opening on Friday, and now, it is in full swing and ready to serve the community.

Sacred Grounds was opened in 2002 by O'Brien's brother, Christian musician Jeremy Camp, but it closed about two years ago. The coffeehouse had been a way to continue the ministry of their church, Harvest Chapel.

O'Brien said Harvest Chapel recently held a Vacation Bible School, and after that, she realized how great it would be to have the Sacred Grounds space back to invest in the lives of the kids in the area. Scared Grounds Reclaimed could do that, she thought.

"We feel like we're supposed to be in this neighborhood," she told the Journal & Courier (http://on.jconline.com/Ui9ZdV ). "We didn't just want it to be a coffee shop."

Now, the restaurant serves as a gathering space for local kids during homework help programs, a music venue and a quiet area to study.

To give the space a new feel, O'Brien said, they turned to the coffeehouse's name. They used entirely reclaimed materials, such as old doors and wood for the bar and a stage area. It gives it all a cozy, homey feel that makes people want to stay a while, O'Brien said.

And the food and drinks they serve fit that theme. O'Brien had a hand in the menu the first time around, and many of the drinks and lunch items are favorites from before. It's all quality food that O'Brien said she would make at home.

Sacred Grounds Reclaimed offers breakfast items, such as biscuits and gravy and bacon and egg breakfast burritos, and O'Brien said those pair well with the signature drinks, such as the "Dirty Hippie" — a mix of espresso and chai.

The difference in the coffee, O'Brien said, is simple quality. Their beans are profile roasted, meaning they are prepared based on the region they come from and how they're grown.

And O'Brien said the baristas there carry that quality through. Espresso is good for only 21 to 23 seconds, which allows for the citrus undertones that should be there to come out, she said. At Sacred Grounds Reclaimed, O'Brien makes her employees throw out the shot if it's even two seconds over that time limit.

The kitchen stays open for lunch, too, and offers classic deli fare. Some favorites include the Sacred Salad, which contains cashews, apples, feta, cranberries and romaine with a homemade poppyseed dressing. They also offer wraps, which can be served with a jalapeño cream cheese spread, and chicken salad. O'Brien said the chicken salad is gluten free, and she wants to continue working with the staff to add more gluten-free items.

Though the food is good, O'Brien said the atmosphere is one thing that makes Sacred Grounds Reclaimed special. People can come and sit for hours, she said.

Corey Miller, the leader of the Christian Faculty and Staff Network at Purdue University, said he likes that aspect. Sacred Grounds provides a quiet atmosphere for him to study in a locally owned shop, he said.

Joe Egan said he's lived across the street from Sacred Grounds Reclaimed for years, and he stops in most mornings to read the Bible. He said the food is delicious, and he's already noticed how much of a difference the place has made to the neighborhood.

To O'Brien, that's a big part of why they're there. In addition to the food and drinks they serve, she wants it to be a place people can come, even if they just need to talk.

"I pray when they come in that they know there's something different about this place," she said.

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Information from: Journal and Courier, http://www.jconline.com


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