The Zen Cafe Adventure

The Zen Cafe Adventure

Rooster and I went on the Zen after our stop at the Studebaker and History Museums. It was interesting on the Zen Cafe adventure. #South Bend #Indiana #Zen Cafe #coffee #Lang Lab #Cool vibe

After we finished our stroll through the Studebaker and History Museums, Rooster and I were ready to enjoy a cup of coffee. The Zen Café was on our list of spots to check out on our quest for the ultimate coffee shop. We entered 1302 High Street into the GPS on Rooster’s cell phone. It didn’t take long for us to arrive at our destination. We pulled into the parking lot of what looked like an abandoned building once used as a warehouse.

The sign on the door led us to the Zen Cafe adventure

The only evidence Zen Café existed was a sign attached to the door. The echo of a crow cawing vibrated in my ear as soon as I climbed out of the car. I wondered if it was some sort of warning for us to jump back into our vehicle and drive away. My writer’s minds started working overtime.

The deserted feel of my current surroundings looked like the perfect place to lure a victim to if you planned to commit murder. I told Rooster I thought we might be killed before we reached the door because I suspected the dilapidated building might be a vampire haunt. I did write a book about a bloodsucker during one of my NaNoWriMo adventures.

A vampire element to the Zen Cafe adventure

I considered myself more of an authority on the subject than Rooster since I’d done considerable research on the vampire subject. Rooster ignored my fears and continued toward the door with the Zen Café sign attached to its front. My apprehension was eased when I watch a normal-looking woman enter the coffee shop. We followed her inside like cattle being led to the slaughter by a Judas Cow.

Zen Café’s interior took the shabby chic vibe to the extreme. The decor had a purposely run-down appearance. Some of the walls looked like they were abused by the former occupants of the building.

Decor we saw on the Zen Cafe adventure

Scattered throughout the room was tacky vintage furniture, which appeared to have been purchased at a yard sale. If the establishment was aiming to create a hippie crash pad from the sixty’s atmosphere, they achieved their goal. The coffee shop seemed to be a place for college students from Notre Dame and Indiana University, South Bend campuses, to hang out on a Saturday afternoon.

It wasn’t accommodating to old people. We had to change seats three times before we found a table where we could get comfortable. We achieved this accomplishment five minutes before closing.

Wasted space

Zen café had a great deal of wasted space where they could have set up tables. Rooster and I found it challenging to work on our computers. Their coffee choices were also limited at this location. The barista said Zen had another shop downtown, which offered more coffee selections.

They also shared their space with Lang Lab. We couldn’t figure out what the other business in this site was used for, but one thing we knew for sure it wasn’t for medical or research purposes. It didn’t resemble a lab at all. The company connected to Zen Café wasn’t operating while we were there, but we did have to journey through what looked like a bar/entertainment venue to use the restroom.

The Lang Lab section of the Zen Cafe adventure

Roundtop tables with glasses and silverware were set up next to some tatter couches. There were bookshelves, a bar, a stage, and other pieces of shabby chic items scattered throughout the two-room area, suggesting it might be a place where live entertainment took place. I found a rooster perched on top of a bookshelf. Other items scattered throughout the establishment suggested it might be a place where winter yard sales or auctions happened.


Rooster’s evaluation of Zen Café was they had a great idea and the perfect location, but they were wasting the chance to capitalize on the opportunity. They could have fit at least ten more tables with chairs in the open area near the counter. People need a comfortable place to set up their lab tops. He also felt they should offer more coffee choices.

The cool vibe we found on the Zen Cafe adventure

The establishment attracts a decent number of customers. About twenty people were hanging out when we got there. I agree with Rooster, but I thought maybe the Zen Café might not want to attract old people such as ourselves. They should offer more coffee choices. I liked the atmosphere of the place but believe they might want to add more chic to the shabby. The derelict appearance of the spot might scare off some potential customers, especially if they thought the patrons were vampires.

The Zen Cafe had a cool vibe, but it couldn’t match the style of the Black Owl in Kalamazoo or Soma in Bloomington. Zen Café needs to step up its game a notch if its to become a destination coffee shop. We could be wrong, but we have visited many coffee establishments over the past year. We found ourselves disappointed because we thought we might have hit the jackpot only to discover our quest for the ultimate coffee shop must continue. We’ve come close a few times, but we haven’t discovered Nirvana yet.



Who is Molly Shea?

Molly Shea is an accomplished fictional short story writer from Indiana, who writes short stories and novels about a fictional town called Tecumseh.  To read more of her short stories and adventures click here.

Be sure to follow Molly on Twitter!




Published by henhouselady

I am the author of Saving the Hen House. I didn't know when I started it would turn into a series. I love to ride motorcycles, the blues, my family, and going on adventures. This old hen rocks.

One thought on “The Zen Cafe Adventure

  1. I wouldn’t be too worried about using my laptop there. I usually leave mine at home. But it doesn’t sound like a place I’ll rush to any time soon 🙁 🙁

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