Borough OfWest ChesterPennsylvania

Fresh Face: Sue’s Chestnut Street Cafe & Gallery

ON THEIR RAMBLING walks through West Chester, Sue Long listened to her dad, Ray, tell her about the borough’s history—and, more personally—how things were when he was growing up here. He’d point out a building and tell her what it used to be or who had resided within its walls. Just a few blocks from where she lives now, the vacant building on the corner of North Franklin and East Chestnut was once a grocery store that anchored the neighborhood, he explained.

“I’d walk by and think, ‘what a great place for a coffee shop,’ ” she says. And a coffee shop it will be. With Sue and Ray’s new venture, Sue’s Cafe, they want to create another neighborhood gathering place. In the airy, inviting space, she points out where the kitchen will be, how she’s sourcing sustainable ingredients and coffee for her menu of light and healthful breakfast and lunch items. Oh, and it will also be a gallery for local artists—including Sue and Ray. Her brother’s art will also find a place. Sue’s already planning for her first group show titled “The Good Earth.”

Though Ray grew up here, he only recently moved back. Sue was born in Augusta, Georgia, and lived in more resort-oriented places before settling here. “When you live in a tourist area, you’re busy all summer and don’t get to enjoy the place you’re in,” she says. “And then everyone leaves. I love that West Chester is more constant; it doesn’t go through that kind of radical change.”

She thinks Sue’s Cafe will also be a “constant,” enriching both body and soul. “I want this to be a place that serves our neighborhood,” she says. “The idea of a place that’s not work or home but is comforting and welcoming— a place that creates its own sense of community.”

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