In a familiar west side area of Chicago, The Light Café peacefully sits at 4015 W. Harrison Ave. The Light Café opened in 2011 and, since then, has been known to serve more than just pastries and coffee. They serve breakfast and lunch with a side of inspiration for the community, by the community.
“We are more than a restaurant [but] a ray of hope in the community, a place for young people to showcase their creativity, a place for pastors and community leaders to uplift the neighborhood, a place to be inspired, [and] a place to relax and enjoy your morning coffee and a newspaper,” according to their website Thelightcafe.com
The Light Café is a small business managed by Lisa and Darryl Burnett. They run their business with open doors and welcoming hearts to west side residents. Lisa Burnett said since they are still considered a “start-up business” they usually handle more than one task in the café.
“We try to help out some of the teens in the neighborhood but majority of our employees are transitional. We’ll have some young ladies come out and wait some tables or sometimes they’ll come out and do things like cleaning for us but primarily I handle more than one task here.”
Burnett said she does have one steady worker named, Genevie Duncan, who she refers to as her right-hand person. Duncan also takes on multiple tasks in the café.
As for the entertainment – for their grand opening in 2011, they had live music and decided to continue providing guests with live entertainment since then. “Sounds of Light” is an inspirational open mic session that the café host every 2nd Saturday of the month from 6p.m. to 10 p.m. with a $2 cover charge at the door. The open mic session is clean music and poetry free of profanity and sexually explicit lyrics so that anyone who comes in the café could enjoy.
Burnett said even though they are a café, serving food comes secondary to the things they do because they hold so many different kinds of events.
“We hold book signings, we hold meetings for neighborhood organizations, we have pastoral services, we have the Freedom Worship Center that comes here Sunday afternoon, and we have Impact which is an outreach program for teens and young adults, that come here on Thursday evenings. So yea, we have a lot of different things going on other than just the café,” said Barnett.
Light Café is giving back to the community by utilizing their space and opening it to the community for other purposes other than strict business consumption.
“Primarily our mission is to give light in the community and to kind of create an atmosphere where teens and young adults feel welcome to come and demonstrate their talents and get their talents nurtured.”
Being a member of Living Word Christian Center, in Forrest Park, IL Burnett said she does a lot of ministry. She said that customers don’t have to be Christians to enjoy the events, anyone could get inspired and uplifted.
As for food they serve your usual café favorites like sausage and egg biscuit sandwiches but Burnett said the French vanilla pancakes are a suggested choice for newbies. They also serve, French toast, and other breakfast favorites with side order options of grits, hash browns, rice and sausage patties.
Served lunches consist of corned beef sandwiches, cheeseburgers, tacos, Panini, and lunch wraps with a choice of chicken, turkey and ham. Turkey bacon and turkey sausage is served to customers upon requests. Cakes, pies, cookies and muffins are on the dessert menu. Catch their reasonable daily specials that provide a free sandwich with the purchase of one and for big events they also cater – Good food along with good music.
Burnett said, “It’s just to let the community know that we are here and it’s a comfortable warm inviting peaceful place to enjoy themselves.”