Lessons learned from my college newspaper

CAREER, JOURNALISM, NOTRE DAME, PUBLISHED WORK

Late nights. Early mornings. Not enough coffee in the world to keep you awake during that morning calculus class. It’s a story most college newspaper editors know well but would never change. We’re willing to put in the hours not only because of the close-knit community, one of the biggest draws, but because the skills you learn working for a college newspaper are invaluable across professional industries. Here are five reasons why.

You meet a wide range of people.

College is a bubble, but working on the paper exposes you to a wide range of people and viewpoints. During my four years on The Observer at Notre Dame, I interviewed a British literary scholar, the Chief Marketing Officer of Subway, the University president and the only Orthodox Jewish student on campus. Reaching beyond the bubble has huge value later on in the working world.

You get used to criticism.

Most professors at Notre Dame weren’t outwardly critical of my writing, focusing on what I could do better instead of what I did wrong. While I appreciated this approach in my classes, criticism is an unavoidable aspect of the professional world and life in general. My freshman year, I remember the first article I received back from my editor was completely covered in red ink, entire sections crossed out. I probably went home and cried that night, but soon learned not take things so personally (and that criticism helps you improve).

You master the art of succinct writing.

I used to think the phrase “writing is an art” meant I could use an unlimited number of words to make things sound beautiful. Now I believe that regardless of the writing form, every single word needs to have a purpose. Working on the paper taught me to boil down stories to their very core, write conversationally and include only the most powerful quotes. All of this prepared me well for a career in digital media.

You get comfortable leading conversations.

Most people love talking about themselves. Once you learn that, asking questions and leading conversations isn’t all that hard. When I started out as a reporter, I was scared to even place a call to a stranger. I read and reread my emails 10 times before requesting an interview. But with experience, I gained the confidence to assert myself during interviews, pursue contacts and ask the tougher questions.

You learn to work well under pressure.

Some of my most stressful days in college, I was under deadline for an article on the same day I had a major test. I spent free moments calling sources and writing while simultaneously trying to memorize history or statistics formulas. The Observer demanded everything of you, and you had to figure out how not to let your grades slip. It took years, but I learned to stay calm and trust that everything would get done (and that the world wouldn’t end if it didn’t).

I loved being an English major at Notre Dame. But truthfully, none of my classes stand out to me years later the way my days and nights spent in The Observer office do. While I nurtured my love for literature through my major, the newspaper that gave me the hands-on, practical education I needed to jump into the real world after graduation.

In the end, I’m thankful for the sleepless nights and overconsumption of chocolate. The Observer was the best (free) course I took at Notre Dame.

*This column was originally published in The Observer 

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Lula’s Café: The Community Living Room

NOTRE DAME, PUBLISHED WORK

Photo Source: 365 South Bend Blog

*Author’s note: this article was first published in Notre Dame Magazine at magazine.nd.edu. 

I had never seen this much flannel in one place at Notre Dame. The room was filled with men and women in plaid shirts, and standing at the microphone was a poetry student from Notre Dame’s creative writing M.F.A. program, reading selections from her work.

A few girls “whoop whoop” and others in the audience clapped, smiling at the student’s cleverness. This group thrived on wit, intellect and the beauty of language.

The décor was an eclectic mix of things that shouldn’t go together but somehow did. Sunflowers sprang from the walls beside oddly shaped mirrors. Shelves held books and random knick-knacks. A wall was painted in red and yellow stripes, and a dusty emerald lamp hung in one corner. None of it made logical design sense, but that was the whole idea of Lula’s—letting loose, being creative and taking risks.

Mostly M.F.A. students filled the room that night, but scattered throughout were undergrads and professors. In the middle of the readings, two huge football players walked in, dressed head-to-toe in Notre Dame gear. They were out of their element, and intentionally so. There was just something wonderful about that.

16 years of Lula’s

“It was a happy accident, really,” Lula’s owner Steve Egan ’93 told me over coffee one fall morning in 2010. “Lula’s was a hit right away.”

The idea for Lula’s was born 16 years earlier when Egan, a public accountant in Chicago, talked over dinner one night with a friend and Notre Dame alum about opening a café near campus. “There was nothing like Lula’s in South Bend,” Egan recalled. “I felt pretty confident in the idea.”

“I did the benchmarking at every café in Chicago practically, to just kind of figure out ideas, and figure out as much financial data as I could from the owners who would be forthcoming with it,” he said.

The next step was writing a business plan and executing it.

“We wanted to be close to campus, and this was a good crossroads area, with high traffic,” Egan said of the 1631 Edison Plaza location, at the Edison/23 intersection near The Linebacker. “I didn’t leave my job in Chicago until we had a location that made sense.”

From the very beginning, Lula’s was meant to be more than just a café — inspiring the sharing of ideas and life stories. And Lula’s was always intended as a bridge between South Bend and the surrounding campus communities, including Notre Dame, Indiana University South Bend (IUSB) and Bethel College.

“We wanted to break down barriers … misconceptions that people from town have about people from campus, and vice versa,” Egan said in 2010. “We wanted to appeal to all demographics. I think that’s one of the tricks to Lula’s, that it’s been able to appeal to a lot different types over a long period of time.”

But after 16 years it became apparent that Lula’s time — at least its time on Edison Road — was limited. On October 5, 2010, Egan spoke to an entrepreneurship class at Notre Dame. The very next day, he was surprised with a notice that his lease would not be renewed.

Egan had just 50 days to vacate Lula’s.

After months of searching for a new location, Egan let go of the dream and took a job with Anthony Travel. Egan said one of the blessings of going through this change was hearing what Lula’s had meant to so many different people.

“It’s kind of like getting to hear your own eulogy when you’re alive,” he said then. “That’s a powerful affirmation that Lula’s has mattered to a lot of people. Lula’s has meaning outside of just a restaurant or coffee shop. There’s something deeper here.”

“The community living room”

Over the years, Lula’s was called “the community living room,” “the gateway to South Bend,” and “the place in Michiana where people come to try to save the world.” Lula’s embraced open-mindedness, encouraging its customers to sit, talk and stay awhile. Students perched at corner tables with laptops, books lined shelves like a library, and cards and board games invited customers to play over coffee or after meals.

“We created so many collisions,” Egan said, explaining that Lula’s was a crossroads for people, communities and ideas. The cozy, thought-provoking space attracted college students, Midwestern hipsters, counter-cultural high school kids, professors and professionals.

“Somebody said, ‘That’s one great thing about Lula’s: you can be next to a nuclear physicist, two high school kids on a date, and two grandmas playing Scrabble,” Egan recalled.

Egan attributed Lula’s success to its customers and staff, the good food and drink, the community and cultural events it hosted, and its general “vibe.” He said customers who recently moved to South Bend were told, “the first place you need to go is Lula’s. That’s where you need to start connecting to people.”

When I arrived on campus in the fall of 2008, I struggled to find a place that felt just “right.” As a quiet freshman uprooted from my New York City suburb, I needed more than Notre Dame football and tight-knit dorm life to feel at home. I often complained to my family that I hadn’t found a community of writers on campus. In fact, I hadn’t found any arts community at all.

One day I heard about a poetry reading at Lula’s Café, which was close enough to campus to walk. I fell in love at first sight. The relaxed atmosphere, friendly staff and delicious food welcomed me right away. Lula’s became a refuge when campus was overwhelming or when I just needed to think.

And Lula’s had been that safe haven, that escape, that home away from home for many.

Matt Storin, a former Boston Globe editor who worked and taught at Notre Dame, said Lula’s helped compensate for South Bend’s inadequacies as a college town. “I was originally attracted to Lula’s because it reminded me of what a college-town coffee house or restaurant should look like,” he said. “Being from the East Coast, I felt that it had a kind of Cambridge-like feel.”

Lula’s last call

Egan said closing time was bittersweet, but he felt an outpouring of support as Lula’s history at Edison Plaza came to an end.

“The last day was a tremendous day,” he said. “Both Tuesday and Wednesday were two of the best days we ever had. I gathered the staff at about nine, and in true Lula’s fashion there were customers and friends of staff just hanging around. We all went around and talked about what Lula’s means to us and the community.”

Lula’s final day of operation was Wednesday, November 24, 2010. It closed for good on Thanksgiving Day. Lula’s staff spent the next few days taking the restaurant apart, and by November 30, all that was left at 1631 Edison was an 8×11 inch sign on the door.

Another café followed but didn’t stay long, and the space once filled with Lula’s is still vacant.

Irish Boys of Brooklyn: New Year’s Eve 1973

CREATIVE WRITING, NOTRE DAME, PUBLISHED WORK

Author’s Note: This article was first published in Notre Dame Magazine at magazine.nd.edu.

***

Some would say bartenders John Pelan and Harold Kelly had the best spot in the house that New Year’s Eve.

All night, off in an alcove behind their simple makeshift bar, Pelan and Kelly poured foaming pitchers of Budweiser and stirred up the occasional whiskey and ginger ale. A radio in the corner spouted updates from the Notre Dame-Alabama national championship game.

Beyond the alcove, men in suits with skinny ties and women with beehive hairstyles danced the waltz and fox trot to a live band.

It was the final night of 1973. About 200 gathered in the auditorium of Notre Dame Parish in New Hyde Park, Long Island, for the annual New Year’s Eve dance. Among the revelers were my grandfather, Patrick Coyne, and my grandmother, Dorothy.

Friends crowded around tables for 10; plastic cups quickly emptied. Men were making regular jaunts back to that little alcove to refill pitchers for their group.

Regular jaunts, of course, to the radio at the bar.

“Wives would be wondering, ‘What’s taking the hubby so long to get a pitcher of beer?’” my grandfather said. “But it was kind of exciting times, and you couldn’t walk away.”

As the time till midnight grew shorter, the beer runs grew longer. Every man wanted an excuse to slip into the little alcove and catch the latest on the game. And as the game moved into the fourth quarter, they lingered longer, crowding around that radio the way they might crowd around a campfire.

“Then it went down to 24-23 [Notre Dame], and Alabama had the ball now with only like a minute and 48 seconds left,” Papa said. “But that could take a lifetime to play.”

Within the parish, alliances to Our Lady’s university ran deep. Most members were first-generation Irish-Americans who had grown up together in immigrant neighborhoods of Brooklyn and Queens.

The majority had not gone to college. Those who did went on the G.I. Bill. To my grandfather’s knowledge, none had gone to Notre Dame.

But since childhood they had idolized the Irish.


Patrick Coyne, an Irish fan for 70 years, on Notre Dame’s campus for the 2008 game against StanfordPatrick Coyne, an Irish fan for 70 years, on Notre Dame’s campus for the 2008 game against Stanford

My grandfather was raised in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, in the 1930s and ’40s, an area teeming with poor Irish, Italian and German immigrants, called the “Ninth Ward” by Brooklynites. His father, a longshoreman, worked hard but sometimes drank even harder.

Despite the crowded apartment, tattered clothes and meager, unstable income, Papa looks back at those years fondly.

Children in the tenement had few possessions but vast, sprawling imaginations. For the tenement kids, the streets, the parks, the abandoned lots and the stoops were their kingdom.

Papa remembers waiting on the street corner for the 8 p.m. “bulldog edition” of the Daily News — only 2 cents then — to arrive. He’d flip to the sports section to read about the “Fighting Irish,” the only college football team he and his buddies took interest in.

On Saturdays, Papa and his friends might head to the theater to see a double feature for 25 cents. A newsreel of current events always played between the two films.

“The [newsreel] would have a less-than-a-minute snippet of the Notre Dame game,” Papa said. “That’s all we waited for, that was the whole thing for us.”

The boys took their love for the Irish out of the theaters and into the streets. But since the movies were in black and white, kids from Papa’s neighborhood never knew what colors Notre Dame really wore.

“When we played organized football we’d call ourselves the ‘Fighting Irish’ and we’d get green and gold uniforms,” Papa said. “When they’d line up behind the center, our quarterback, Marty Dougherty, would say something like ‘down big green and gold!’ Meanwhile, we were these scrawny-looking skinny Irish kids.”

Papa and his friends were just a few of Notre Dame’s poor but passionate “sidewalk alumni.”
Sports journalist Jimmy Cannon also grew up in an immigrant neighborhood of New York City. In a 1967 column for the Daily News, he writes about the pride that bonded the Irish slums of New York to an affluent university over 700 miles away.

Like movie stars, Cannon says, Notre Dame players were revered from afar.

“Football was important. But Notre Dame was a cherished symbol,” he writes. “In our neighborhood, where a good education meant graduating from grammar school, the Notre Dame football players were the perfection of our kind.”

“On our mean streets, no band played and a pennant never waved when Notre Dame won,” Cannon writes. “But we were as much a part of that distant university on the prairie as though we had a diploma to prove it.”

As a child, my grandfather barely crossed the boundaries of New York City. So for all he and his buddies knew, South Bend, Indiana, could have been a landlocked Emerald Isle.

Perhaps Notre Dame’s remoteness made it even more captivating.


As the boys of Brooklyn built their careers and rose into the middle class, they moved east into modest homes on Long Island but have remained close friends for over 70 years.

Hugh Mullin, one of those friends, broke the good news about the championship outcome that New Year’s Eve of 1973. He had disappeared back with John Pelan and Harold Kelly — much to his wife Mary’s chagrin — and wasn’t seen again until around 11 p.m.

“Hughie came running back, yelling, ‘They won, they won, they won, they beat Alabama!’” my grandfather said. “He was jumping up and down, and then everybody was jumping up and down.”

Even the previously irritated wives joined in on the excitement. The band played The Victory March.

“The revelers went crazy with joy,” Papa said. “The real party had begun in earnest.”

When 1974 arrived at midnight, the bittersweet words of “Auld Lang Syne” soared through the auditorium and couples swayed in beer-fogged bliss.

“But needless to say, the ringing in of the New Year was a bit anticlimactic,” Papa said. “By the time 12 o’clock rolled around, we had already done all our [real] celebrating.”

Thirty-nine years will have passed when Notre Dame faces Alabama again in another high-profile matchup for the national title. Since then, Papa has had a son and a granddaughter graduate from Notre Dame. He has visited campus countless times with his buddies from Brooklyn, watched it blossom beyond the original quads. He’s discovered South Bend is a second home for the Irish but no replica of the Emerald Isle.

For my grandfather, he certainly won’t be in a church gymnasium this time around with the Crimson Tide.

“Before, I could go to the dance,” he said, laughing at the absurdity of listening to the game on a bar radio. “Now, I couldn’t go to a dance. No way.”

ND Magazine: Looking out, looking over

FOOD & DRINK, LIFE, NOTRE DAME, NYC, OPINION, PUBLISHED WORK

Author’s Note: this article was first published in Notre Dame Magazine at magazine.nd.edu.
***

Looking out, looking over

BY SARA FELSENSTEIN ’12

After work one night in September I met up with a friend from Notre Dame, Meg, for drinks at a rooftop bar in New York City. We’d been talking about doing this for a while, getting to a rooftop bar before things got too busy and the summer passed right by. After consulting timeout.com and conversing via Facebook we chose The Press Lounge, located on the West Side and overlooking the Hudson River.

It was something to look forward to, something to break up the monotony of the week. And in a way, going to a nice bar like this after work on a weekday feels like a young-professional-in-New-York-City rite of passage.

We arrived around seven, ordered glasses of Pinot Grigio and took a prime spot facing the city to watch the sun set while we caught up on our new lives. We talked about how beautiful the city looked from this angle and how we hoped to never become one of those jaded New Yorkers who goes about life in such an irritated rush that the place loses its awe-inspiring quality.

Meg and I graduated from Notre Dame the same year and both grew up in New York City suburbs. We talked about college, of course, but it was strange how removed we felt from it after only three months as young alumni.

We realized there is a clear disjointedness to those two lives, college life in the Midwest and home life outside of New York City.

Those two lives don’t seamlessly meld into one another, but rather seem to be self-enclosed bubbles of months or years, sharing adjacent positions on the timelines of our recent pasts.

It’s odd too thinking that during those undergrad years, college was everything. Total immersion in papers, practices, clubs and parties meant I’d sometimes lose track of major news events, even family updates — as if all that mattered was Notre Dame.

Despite semesters in different countries, summers in various cities or breaks at home, as soon as we were back on campus and thrust into the regular workload, those other experiences faded.

It was like we had never left.

Then, all through senior year, our impending graduation was this distant siren growing louder by the month, but never quite loud enough to demand serious acknowledgement. Even weeks before graduation, some of us were still in denial it would happen.

If we remained firmly grounded in this place, in everything Notre Dame, how could we suddenly end up on the other side?

Of course, after summer break ends and students move back in — that’s when the reality of graduation really sets in.

I think that’s what Meg and I realized that September night at the rooftop bar, surrounded by dresses and suits and foreign accents, wondering how much this vibrant place surrounding us was actually our place. Letting go of the feeling that this could be any other summer we worked in the city, that our professional lives were just practice for later and we could still be going back and accepting that four years of college is actually a relatively small amount of time.

It’s hard to keep that perspective as a student, to really feel how short four years are.

Until they’ve passed.

So yes, college was dearly, dearly missed. But we were also thrilled with being in New York and completely in awe of the sights in front of us. We couldn’t stay out until 4 a.m., but there were no tests, papers or job applications in our immediate future.

We were “done for the day,” a brand new concept.

One that we very much liked.

ND. UM. ’08. Let’s bring this back.

NOTRE DAME

On the bus home from work this evening, I checked the weather for South Bend and was bummed to find a 50 percent chance of rain forecast for Saturday.

Rain during the 24 hours I’ll be on campus,  during the one ND tailgating experience I’ll have until next year, during the one home game I’ll be at this fall after attending all 26 over the past four years?  I wasn’t thrilled, to say the least.

But then I thought: let’s bring this back.

Sept. 13, 2008. Notre Dame: 35 / Michigan: 17

The mud, the wet, the win. Let’s bring ’08 back like we never graduated.

Saturday calls for some mucky, mucky Fichigan.

Epic mudsliding on South Quad. Sept. 13, 2008.

Notre Dame admissions video: Any Given Day

NOTRE DAME, OPINION

“It’s about shaping you as a person and really getting you prepared for your life after Notre Dame.”

As a junior in high school, I found college touring exhausting. All of the info sessions, tours, scheduled meetings with student representatives– they all blended into one another. I had trouble defining what schools were really like when almost all the admissions literature teemed with vague words like “history,” “tradition,” “opportunity” and “success.” I can’t tell you how many schools I looked into that boasted “completely unique” opportunities for me. Was that even possible? How was I supposed to decide the location of my next four years, and the foundation of the rest of my life, based on a “gut feeling,” a programmed tour of interesting facts and some carefully worded handouts?

Since going to Notre Dame, I’ve always thought the only way to really know a school, to understand what it’s all about, is to be there as a student. Yes, there’s that feeling you get when you first walk on campus as a prospy, when you realize you “know” the school on some basic level. But that feeling grows, changes and transforms when on campus for good. When you discover the major you didn’t know existed or the club you dedicate all your free time to, that  feeling seeps into deeper parts of you. It’s no longer a fleeting emotion awakened only when looking up at the Golden Dome for the first time, but something more permanent, cultivated by the things you do on campus and manifested in the relationships you make.

Unfortunately, the wrapped-up-with-a-bow perspective typically handed to prospective students by the admissions office does not and cannot portray what a school is all about. The scope of the student experience– what’s possible over four years– is much too large.

But this new video released this week by the Notre Dame admissions office is different.  The video was produced by Philadelphia-based Neighborhood Film Co., a company that “mentors and employs individuals recovering from homelessnesss, mental-illness or addictions through the process of filmmaking.” Not only is it a fresh, modern and interesting work of videography, it both accurately and beautifully portrays the character of the University. Unlike videos I’ve seen in the past, I can’t pass this off as an annoying, overdramatic compilation of clips used by admissions to either play up or play down various aspects of Notre Dame.

Because it doesn’t. It’s not. It’s kind of the real thing.

Watch it.

Is this real life? That’s exactly what it is.

LIFE

Classes commenced at Notre Dame last Tuesday, and the first “official” week begins tomorrow. For the first time in four years, I won’t be going back. It’s a strange feeling, knowing that life at ND goes on without me or the other 2,000 plus members of the Class of 2012 that ate, studied, hung out, played sports, performed, chatted, made friends, made trouble and infinite other things within the boundaries of campus since 2008. Thinking about campus, classes and parties, I feel pangs of sadness and nostalgia for those wonderful years I know I’ll never get back. But I am excited and ready for the next phase, which Notre Dame prepared me well for.

Throughout college, whether referring to being abroad, acing a test not studied for, talking to the crush we thought was totally out of our league, we’d throw around the phrase, “Is this real life?!”

Now, the Class of 2012 is finding out its true meaning.

All decked out for my first Notre Dame pep rally as a student!  Wow. August 2008.

Four years later, decked out in cap and gown, all set to graduate from Our Lady’s university. May 2012.

First day of work. “Real world” begins! August 2012.

Top 5 places to write outdoors

CREATIVE WRITING

Swimming. Sundresses. Street fairs. There are so many things to love about summer, but writing outside may be my favorite. I have a few months to go before I begin my new job, and I’ve been trying to get some sun and catch up with reading and writing in the meantime. Here are some of my all time favorite spots to ponder ideas, scribble down thoughts or seriously write.

1. On a city bench (eavesdropping)

I learned this trick at the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio back when I was a junior in high school. There’s no better source of inspiration for a story than picking up and trying to piece together scraps of conversation from daily life. Listening to entire conversations is okay, too. I mean when you’re out in the public it’s fair game, right?

2. The back patio of my house

It’s away from the commotion, but close to an endless supply of snacks and San Pellegrino!

3. The second floor balcony of the Concord Suites in Avalon, NJ

Each year since I was about 11 my family has gone down to the Jersey Shore and stayed at the same hotel, the Concord Suites. The second story of the building has a wide balcony with tables that look out over the street. I love the clear, breezy nights when you can see the stars, and the combination of hushed conversation of and the hum of the ocean makes for the perfect background sound. Every year I try to write at least one poem from up there.

4. The bench and table at St. Joseph’s Lake in Notre Dame, IN

I never actually wrote here, but my roommate Megan and I would often go for runs around the lakes at school, and each time we passed this spot I’d vow to come back with my notebook. Basically, there’s a charming little writing desk off in a tree-shrouded area beside a beautiful lake, and I never actually see anyone using it.  I’ll definitely have to find some time away from bookstore-shopping and tailgating to come back here during a football weekend.

5. Sitting outside a café 

Okay I may be cheating a little bit with this one, because obviously a café is an ideal spot for writing. But writing OUTSIDE a café  is most ideal!  I love the outdoor tables certain coffee shops have, where you can sit with your laptop, enjoy your latte and the warm weather and still observe people on the street.

Quincy’s Cafe offers ‘something for everyone’

COFFEE, FOOD & DRINK

Walk into Quincy’s Café on any given afternoon and the first thing you’ll notice is the people.

Students clad in oversized headphones, hidden behind their laptops and towers of textbooks. Professors holding an orange coffee mug in one hand and a newspaper in the other. A poet scribbling down thoughts in his Moleskin.

Ismail Egilmez, owner of the café, says Quincy’s has something for everyone.

“I have 90-year-old women … playing cards games down to students studying, to locals who’ve been in town forever to artists to musicians sitting in the corner,” he said. “It’s what we are, the environment that I’ve set out … if you build it, they’ll come.”

Located on the corner of Edison Road and Route 23, Egilmez credits Quincy’s success over the last year in part to its central location.

“I’m at a good crossroads,” he said. “We’re next to the campus, obviously, which we totally love, we’re next to downtown, also next to Granger, which is very popular, and everybody moves through here.”


Egilmez opened Quincy’s Café one year ago with his father, Philip Egilmez, a Notre Dame alum. Ismail Egilmez had previously owned an art gallery in Chicago, which he was forced to close when the economy spiraled downward.

Opening his own café, he said, had always been a goal.

Now, the timing was right.

“It was harder and harder to find anything to really depend on … so the best answer to that was just to work for yourself,” he said. “So we came together, brought our heads together on it, and this is what came out of that.”

The quirky ambience of Quincy’s helps distinguish it from what Egilmez calls “sterile” coffee shops, chain stores like Starbucks and Seattle’s Best that have spread across the country since the early 1990s.

He said Quincy’s is an entirely different kind of venture.

“Just because the coffee associates us two doesn’t mean the whole idea of the business is [the same,]” he said. “This is more ‘take a break.’”

With its wooden tables, mismatched chairs and abstract artwork lining an entire wall, the atmosphere of Quincy’s is a major draw for creative types who find the South Bend area lacking in similar venues.

“It does build community really well, because people talk to each other and connections happen, it’s just great for the artists to be able to do that,” he said. “That way [I can] support doing the art, without completely depending on it, and still give back in that way.”

All of the artwork displayed is by local or regional artists. Egilmez also invites local musicians to play on a small wooden stage in the back of the café.

“There’s some weeks we have [music] Wednesday through Sunday, other weeks we have it just Thursday Friday and Saturday, but always Friday and Saturday and 90 percent of the time Thursday, Friday, Saturday, so yeah we really try to keep that going,” Egilmez said.

When it comes to food, Quincy’s also goes for local flavor.

“I think the signature thing is the ingredient,” Egilmez said. “I mean every restaurant is going to have a turkey sandwich, I mean we can’t patent that … it’s how you do it.”

All of the food is locally or regionally made, he said, and none of the ingredients are “skimped on.”

The coffee served at Quincy’s — on the pricier side at about two to five dollars a cup — is high quality and regionally sourced.



“We do Intelligentsia coffee because they’re a smaller business. I [found out] about them when I went to Chicago, basically I tasted that and I said I won’t go to any of the ‘other’ places,” he said. “It really is night and day.”

Egilmez said that despite doing very little advertising, numbers show Quincy’s has grown steadily each month since it opened last April.

But he said the timeline for possible expansion “kind of dictates itself.”

“We want to see if the cup keeps overflowing to see if that’s needed and so right now we’re at just about the right capacity with our shows and everything, so [eventually] expanding the venue so we can offer more, a little bigger of a stage,” he said.

Egilmez said he does not want to be the kind of owner that “sets and forgets,” failing to keep up with increased demand or customers’ needs.

“You have to keep moving with it a little bit, and change, but still keep the very main core,” he said. “I’m never going to lose what I’m about. Just [add] to it a little bit.”