Feb 13, 2007

Starlight Cafe: One of the many steps towards the revitalization of downtown Lynchburg

by Natasha Kormanik, Life! Reporter
For students desiring to experience Lynchburg in the true local fashion, be sure to visit Starlight Cafe, a new eatery in historic downtown Lynchburg. The cafe, which is owned by Oliver Kuttner, opened in October 2006 as part of an effort to revitalize the city’s downtown area.

According to www.YouOughtTo KnowThis.com, a Web site owned and operated by Kuttner, the Starlight Cafe is a “‘light’ force in the neighborhood” and part of a plan to possibly make a franchise in the future. Kuttner wants his cafe to be a “positive business model” and a “vital force in the community.”

Manager Irene Wolfe, who has worked at the Starlight Cafe since it opened, said, “Oliver is a pretty prominent business guy in the area. He owns, I think, about 400 properties between here and Charlottes-ville…. He’s kind of expanded his business ventures to Lynchburg. This is the first of a lot of stuff he’s trying to work with. He’s working with the (entirety) of Fifth Street. He’s trying to get small business and boutiques here. He’s not allowing any fast-food places at all.”

The Starlight Cafe is located at 512 Fifth Street between Clay and Madison, and it blends in with the surrounding buildings. According to Wolfe, the shop is part of what used to be an old bus station. Interestingly enough, the local city bus does stop directly in front of the eatery, allowing locals to get a taste of the fresh cookies and organic coffee made and served daily.

From the street, one would not necessarily notice the cafe if it were not for the exception of its green and yellow 50s-style sign displayed out front. Remaining true to its historical roots, the eatery features an eclectically authentic mix of wooden chairs, leather seating and various paintings. Gazing around the room while listening to the upbeat music that steadily plays in the background, one will notice the pale green walls and matching tile accompanying the various furniture pieces and decorative hangings, giving the place a warm vibe uniquely its own.

Junior Jennifer Leatherman said that the cafe provides “a different atmosphere. The feel of it is more of a local type. It’s pretty fun trying different local coffee shops or restaurants that you can’t find anywhere else.”

“We’re planning to do some live entertainment in the future, including acoustic music,” said Wolfe. “We’re (also) hoping to do some coffee tasting.”

The café has a takeout menu for those who are too busy in their day to sit down for a hot cup of coffee and a good bite to eat. Some special features include BBQ pork and Philly cheese steak and even a vegetarian selection for those non-meat lovers.

During the week, the Starlight Cafe is open from 6:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., allowing early morning commuters a fresh start to their day. On weekends, the hours are from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The cafe is one of a few shops able to boast about its all-day brunch, complete with some items such as omelets, French toast and the biscuit with egg. Also featured at the shop are salads, soups and sides such as French fries and onion rings. Lattes, espressos, hot chocolate, organic teas and chai tea lattes are also available in addition to the regular cup o’ joe.

Not only is food served, but shirts and handbags featuring the cafe’s logo are also available for purchase. Additionally, those looking for a place to have a good time are offered the opportunity to reserve the cafe for private parties or events in the evenings.

Within just a few weeks, this location will be gaining Wi-Fi Internet access, allowing students with laptops access to the Internet while relaxing at the cafe, making it an ideal place to eat and study.
Wolf hopes that new customers will be brought in with the opening of Machu Picchu, a new Peruvian restaurant that will start serving food in about three weeks. The restaurant, owned by a local Peruvian family and offering Peruvian rotisserie chicken, will be sharing the same building as the cafe. Wolf included that the possibility for growth in the summer looks optimistic with the hope of eventually offering poetry readings and even live music on the outside patio. The idea of a future drive-thru has even been mentioned, adding to the summer’s bright possibilities. For more information, please contact the Starlight Cafe at 434-845-3196.

Contact Natasha Kormanik at nnkormanik@liberty.edu.
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