JEWELL - There is one school of thought that a little town isn't really complete without a coffee shop that offers a place for locals to meet, tasty and simple food to eat, and, of course, a good cup of coffee.
Now that Caf Agape has opened on Main Street in Jewell, that community is whole again. Open just a few weeks, the homey and inviting restaurant is already a popular place for morning coffee groups as well as those who want breakfast.
Renovations to the building, most recently Katie's Caf, were completed by the Geist family after they purchased it. "We've always talked about it (having a restaurant) being fun. Mom is a good cook, and everyone likes her food. So when this business came up for sale, we went for it," says Erin Geist, manager.
Erin Geist, left, and her sister Hannah Geist prepare breakfast at the Cafe Agape in Jewell. The Geist family opened the cafe recently and it is becoming a gathering spot for area residents
Agape, a Greek word for Christian love, was chosen by the family as the name for their venture. That shows in the standard tip jar located by the cash register. Instead of going into the pockets of the Geists, though, these tips are donated to local causes. Recently went to help with the medical needs of a local man battling cancer.
"We are strong in our faith and wanted this to be a place of welcoming for the community and providing just a loving atmosphere," explains Geist about how the name was chosen. "It's a good reminder for us of how to treat people as we focus on excellent service and good quality that we want to provide."
For now, the little restaurant is open only 6:30 to 10:30 a.m. Mondays through Saturdays, which offers plenty of opportunities for coffee groups to assemble, as Erin says the first group of men come in at 7:30 for coffee. Breakfast , baked goods, and expresso are also served. Cinnamon rolls, sticky buns, and biscuits-all baked on site-are available every day. Flavors of scones and muffins vary.
The short day allows the Geists to work around their work and school schedules. Erin Geist, who graduated from ISU last spring at 20, now works part time as a communications intern at Crossroads Church near Ames in addition to her duties at Caf Agape. Sister Hannah, 14, is in high school home school. Erin's dad, Tom, works full time from their home near Stanhope, while Mom Cathy is at the caf daily. On a recent busy Saturday it was all Geist hands on deck to prepare food and serve customers as they came in.
Erin Geist said that the family is looking at expanding hours at the restaurant as they get a better handle on how their schedules work together.
For now, they are pleased with the start of their business. JADE (Jewell Area Development Enterprise) has been a great help in getting Caf Agape up and going, according to Erin Geist, noting their assistance with grants. The small-town business has a Facebook page updated daily at cafeagapejewell.