Something new is brewing in old Marietta. Heart Café, 17 East Market Street, now occupies the first floor of what was the Marietta Hotel during the 19th and early 20th century. This cafe was conceived as a community gathering place in the heart of town – a place where one could enjoy a cup of coffee with a friend or bring the whole family for breakfast and lunch. Since its soft opening in April, operations, hours, staff, and menu have been evolving to meet the requests and suggestions of enthusiastic patrons, many of them trail-users looking for non-alcoholic refreshment.
Heart Café is unique in that a large group of town folks have put their money and sweat equity into making their dream into a reality. They contributed a certain dollar amount plus time working on the myriad tasks associated with starting up a restaurant from scratch.
Leah Nagle spearheaded the effort on top of her already full plate of being a mother to four young children and a member of Marietta Borough Council. Her background in marketing and tendency to think outside the box have been huge assets. The other twenty-one investors bring a wide range of relevant skills to the table as well. They range in age from mid twenties to late sixties and include (among other vocations) a bookkeeper, retired bank teller, a painter, an HR administrator, a professional artist/ designer/educator, a college prof, B&B owners, teachers, local business owners, carpenters and all round handy-men and women!
This group, with the support and assistance of the building owner, transformed a dingy space into a colorful and thoroughly unique venue adorned with walls and shelves of local art and other creations. This transformation took nine months (Nagle likens it to the gestation of a baby) and a considerable investment of funds.
The menu, aside from featured coffees and teas, includes healthy, mainly locally-sourced sandwiches, soups, salads, desserts, smoothies as well as options for vegans and those following gluten-free diets.
Many will remember the flower shop and greenhouse that once occupied this location. As a reminder of the historic past of the building, future plans include the development of the concrete foundation for outdoor seating with a pergola that reflects the shape of the former greenhouse.
A wall was devoted to the art of Susquehanna Waldorf School students through August and exhibits featuring local artists are on tap for the Fall. Erik Diaz, the Donegal Middle School art teacher, will be showing his own work September through October followed by Marietta resident Marita Hines.
During non-business hours, the space is available to the community groups looking for a venue. Visit heartcafe.us for more information.