Java combines culture with cappuccino

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 12, 2004

Suffolk News-Herald

Before he and his co-owners even opened Java 149, Jeff Jones knew that he wanted it to be than just a coffee shop.

&uot;We agreed that we’d bring culture with the coffee,&uot; he said. &uot;Coffee and food are about being with people and the community, and a coffee shop begs for that.&uot; On Friday evening, a jammed restaurant got a taste of cultural cappuccino; the shop, appropriately located at 149 N. Main Street, held its first Open Mike Poetry Night. Intended to be a weekly event, the readings begin at 7 p.m.

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&uot;No topic is off limits, but there’s no profanity,&uot; Jones said.

One of the first speakers in the shop’s history, Nathan Richardson paid tribute to the town with his literary creation, &uot;Old Town Salutes the New Suffolk.&uot;

&uot;When the difference between downtown and the country was cobblestone and dirt road, that was the Suffolk I knew,&uot; he said. &uot;Our farmers are getting old now, and the housewives have gone to work, we’ve got as many schools as we do banks and the kids too are finding work. It used to be Lakeview and Hollywood were the places in Suffolk to live, now there’s Harbourview and Sleepy Hole, and Suffolk’s got much more to give.

&uot;New highways now make the rides more pleasant, but the scenery’s still a good mix of old and new, which proves the past is always present.

&uot;This was a new opportunity,&uot; said Richardson, who hosts an open mike night at a coffee shop in Chesapeake. &uot;A coffee shop is a base camp for poetry. My style of writing is inspired by people. When I get up there, I’m doing it from memory. It’s a venue that allows me to get my thoughts across.&uot;

In Cydna Lindbead’s case, it worked.

&uot;I was out to dinner with my friends, and I thought we’d just come here and get some coffee,&uot; she said. &uot;I used to think that poetry nights weren’t for me, but now I’ll probably stay for awhile. The words were inspirational, and to see someone like (Richardson) who is so dedicated makes me hunger for more. I’ll definitely be back.&uot;

Chances are, Aaron Clason will be there to greet her.

&uot;I’ve been praying for a coffee shop since I moved to Suffolk,&uot; he said. &uot;People would say, ‘There’s a Starbucks out in Chesapeake,’ and I’d say, ‘No, I want one right here!’ At first, not many people signed up for Poetry Night, and now it’s standing-room only.&uot;