Pete and I spent yesterday eating a glorious lunch at Cafe 54 in downtown Tucson. Cafe 54 supports local artists and people with mental illnesses by providing them job training and experience in the food business.
The main downtown hub has trendy, exposed brickwork walls, a fresh and local menu, and super-friendly staff. We showed up about twenty minutes early (thanks to my awesome parking job - woohoo!) and asked for Carrie, the Catering Manager. The cashier replied with, "Oh, you must be Sarah and Pete - congratulations!" Wow.
From that point on we were treated like King and Queen, with a lunch of lobster salad and jerk chicken, refreshing cups of hibiscus tea and prickly pear tea, and desert of maple pecan coffee cake and mexican chocolate pie. Carrie herself was amazing, a recent transplant from Vermont, who is simply delightful to talk to and gave us both hugs at the end.
So, not only are the food and service amazing, but Carrie was also able to give us more details about the unique purpose of Cafe 54. The people who prepared our food, who brought it to the table, and who bussed the table were all people that have a history of mental illness. They also staff the Gardens Cafeat the Tucson Botanical Gardens, where we first found out about Cafe 54.
Where and When
Pete and I finally have some details figured out (drumroll, please): the day of the Best Party Ever will be Sunday, February 28th, 2010 at the Tucson Botanical Gardens Porter Hall.
Bring your sunscreen, your sunny attitudes, and maybe even a pair of shades. The future's so bright...