Wednesday, May 20, 2009


I have never been one who could jump right into my workday. I prefer to ease my way into it, gradually. During the six years that I was visual merchandiser at Buchanan's, I did this by spending the hour before work at Onion Creek Cafe, which was just around the corner from the nursery.

Have you ever read anything about the theory of a third place? That, in addition to their home and their workplace, people need a third place - somewhere they are comfortable just hanging out? A home away from home, if you will. Well, Onion Creek was my third place - mine and just about everybody's who lived in Houston's "Historic Heights" neighborhood. It's where they went for coffee in the morning, and worked a crossword puzzle with the regulars. It's where they ran in for a bite to eat on their lunch break. It's where they met up for a beer after work. And, it's where they headed each Saturday morning, for the farmers' market held in their parking lot.

At first I wasn't sure why I was so drawn to it. Eventually though, I figured it out. Onion Creek felt like the Hill Country. Eventually it got pretty crowded, so the owner renovated an old filling station down the street, and opened up a second place - Dry Creek. And now he has opened the best one of all - Cedar Creek. The whole time we were there last weekend, I kept asking myself "Now wait. What city am I in?"

I haven't really found my third place in Wimberley yet, but I have a vision of what it could be. My friend Lisa has sold her wine bar to her bar tender/chef, Isaac. He plans to reopen it as a wine bar/brew pub, called Ike's. I'm hoping he'll expand the menu a bit - since I'm not really a drinker, I'll need great food at "my place." Then maybe he'll add coffee, chai and a few breakfast items, to utilize the space during daylight hours. Last but not least, he'll offer to let The Bountiful Sprout use the spot as their pick-up site two afternoons per month. If he did all that, I think everyone in Wimberley would be callin' it "my place!" (If you know Isaac, maybe you could drop a bug in his ear?)

P.S. In case you're wondering, those are fried pickle chips that my kids are chowing down on.


Joanna Jenkins said...

I like the idea of a "third place". I call mine my "second kitchen", It's a great little coffee shop named John O'Groats-- very UN-Los Angeles, where the owners are working the counter or the cash register, always give me a hug when I stop by and never rush me when I just want to sit and read the newspaper. I'm comfortable eating there with a crowd of family and friends or just by myself. It's one of the few "homey" places I've found in the 20 years I've lived in LA.

Hill Country Hippie said...

I had that same problem in the burbs. Everything was homogenized chains, not enough mom & pop places. I ate at the same bagel place every week for 5 years, but no one ever knew my name, because the chains have such a high turnover rate amongst employees.

Polly said...

Wow, Joanna, you just reminded me of a wonderful place in the little town of Nacogdoches, Texas, where I went to college mumblety-mumblety years ago. At least I hope its still there. It was the coffee shop attached to the Caraban Restaurant Club and Motor Hotel. (Doncha just love small towns?) No matter where we started out, we always ended up there at the end of the evening, drinking coffee and eating the best pancakes you ever put in your mouth. During finals, the waitress would unplug the jukebox and keep the coffee coming. More than once she quieted a couple of loud talking truckers with *You boys hush. It's finals up'ta the college. Don't you see these kids are studying?* You know, I hadn't thought of that place in years, but I sure do miss it.