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The Miracle Cafe

June 22nd, 2007 at 9:22 pm

Welcome to …

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… the newest (and only) dining establishment in Reading, pop. 250. Reading is about 20 miles northeast of Emporia, in Lyon County.

Reading’s previous restaurant burned down about six years ago. The Reading Community Development Inc. formed in order to get some economic growth going in the town. One of their first goals was to reestablish a restaurant.

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The Miracle Cafe is owned by Cynthia Price Wilson who was raised in Reading. A couple years ago, Cynthia moved back to Reading from Massachusetts. She teaches eighth grade science in the Auburn-Washburn school district.

The setting for this restaurant is the oldest building in Reading, a house built in 1870, back in Reading’s big railroad days. Reading was named after Reading, PA.

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Pulling this cafe together was a community effort. Neighbors painted and repaired things, donated tables, tablecloths and chairs, plates and glasses. A man built the front counter. A woman made the curtains.

When it was finished, the Miracle Cafe had a thank-you dinner for the people who helped bring the cafe to life. And they held a cake-and-coffee event for the community at large.

Two weeks ago yesterday, the cafe opened to the public.

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(We were there at 4:00 in the afternoon, that’s why the empty chairs.)

“The name is appropriate because a lot of miracles had to happen for it to come together,” Cynthia said.

At first they had tablecloths on all the tables, but “some of the guys didn’t want to eat on tablecloths because they were afraid of getting them dirty,” she said. So, now some have coverings, some don’t.

The cafe was modeled after tea houses that Cynthia frequented in Massachusetts. And she wants this to be kind of a tea house/coffee house/music house. But she has made an effort to keep the place from being “too prissy,” so that the men will feel comfortable there.

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Pie Concerts are in the plans for this summer. She’d like to have desserts for sale in the backyard and bring in local musicians to play in the evenings. “Reading has many musicians,” she said. “Strings, vocal, small bands.”

A bridge club met in the cafe the other day. “They played cards for three solid hours,” she said.

Business has been good. “And I have a lot of take-out orders,” Cynthia said. “That surprised me.”

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For dinner, Dave and I had the roast beef special. Oh, and pie. Cherry for Dave, peach for me. It was a good meal.

Sandwiches and salads listed on the menu run about $3-5. Offerings include grilled cheese, chicken strip basket, ham or turkey sandwich, salads, hamburgers and hot dogs.

“I have a wonderful cook,” she said of Keianna Thompson.

The cafe is drawing in diners from area communities. I think she said 12 people from Emporia were in yesterday. (And at least two today – me and Dave.)

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The Miracle Cafe is in downtown Reading at 103 Franklin Street. 620-699-3009.

Hours are:

Tuesday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Saturday, 9 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Closed Sundays and Mondays

It’s available for private parties and functions. High Teas can be scheduled for birthday parties, clubs and organizations.

Unless otherwise noted, these Daily News pictures are mine. For a great photo from the interior, see Dave’s Prairie Dust blog.

life on the ground, small towns

  1. Flips
    June 22nd, 2007 at 22:41 | #1

    How wonderful!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    When I was a little girl (about six million years ago/ take a year or two) my Aunt Bessie had the cafe at Reading on main street——–& I use to go help her in the cafe—-in the summers when I could——she made home made pies & rolls——-& she had six stools at the counter & about four booths–& everyone from all over came to eat in that tiny cafe——–& she pulled practical jokes on everyone!
    Back then –there was no air conditioning——-& there were ceiling fans from the tall ceilings——
    Tons & tons of fresh brewed ice tea was sold along with pies & pies & pies!!!
    How wonderful that Reading has a cafe again——-& in such a neat place—–the community will totally support them———-I’m soooooooo pleased for them!!!!!!!!!!