crazy day at the vegan cafe

June 18, 2011

Do “day” and “cafe” rhyme? If so — I’m a poet!

I think I’m really pushing it though… I don’t think they rhyme.

Good thing I’m not a kindergarten teacher. Those fifth graders come to school already knowing how to rhyme. Guess they could teach me a thing or two.

Welcome to my town:

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Isn’t it cute? Settled along the I&M Canal, it boasts beautiful old homes and buildings.

It’s got a lot of charm — perfect for a relaxing Saturday afternoon stroll into the Vegan Cafe for my afternoon shift. And by stroll, I mean half mile walk from my car to the cafe. That counts… I think.

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Only… it wasn’t so relaxing. I had to push and shove my way through mobs of people. There were swarms everywhere!

Okay, again — I’m exaggerating. But this is the biggest crowd my town has seen in quite some time on State Street.

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Every June, my town hosts “Canal Days” which is our summer festival. I was hoping to get some relief from the craziness when I walked into the Vegan Cafe.

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Isn’t the outside too cute? The railings, tables, and chairs were just added yesterday during my shift — I love it!

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Relief from the craziness did not appear anytime from 11-3! We were busy busy busy! Look at those worker bees — they’re moving so fast you can’t even see them!

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Canal Days brought a huge influx of customers who have never had Vegan cuisine before. It was interesting to watch and see the different groups come in and try the food. I had time to sit down for five minutes to scarf down some Cole slaw and Italian crisps/spaghetti sauce at one point — we thought the rush had come to a close. Only it hadn’t. Every time we thought we got caught up, another wave of people would come in!

Pure craziness!!!

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I was manning the orders and food prep with Chef Linda today — my favorite part is making the orders! Who would’ve thunk my days of working in the college cafeteria would actually assist me in my every day life? Take that bachelors degree.

Sweet Angela (above and below!) was our main waitress for the day.

Angela is a blog reader turned volunteer turned co-worker! She was working the floor today like you would not believe! Most upbeat waitress if I’ve ever seen one! Great job Angela!

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The most remarkable point about today?

I didn’t get anything on my clothes without an apron. That, my friends — is a miracle. They don’t call me “Messy Chelsey” for nothing.

Question: Does your town have a festival every summer? Have you ever worked in the restaurant industry?

{ 48 comments… read them below or add one }

Katelyn @ Chef Katelyn June 18, 2011 at 6:07 pm

OH MY GOD WHY HAVE I NOT VISITED YOU!!!! We have canal days here too, they are theeee best.


cleaneatingchelsey June 18, 2011 at 9:43 pm

I don’t know – but you should! :)


Angela June 18, 2011 at 6:08 pm

HAH I look so SO upbeat in both photos. You are so sweet!!!!! I had so much fun working with you! We need to get lunch so we can actually SIT, EAT (unheard of) and chat! Thanks for putting me in :)


cleaneatingchelsey June 18, 2011 at 9:44 pm

I agree! Or we could be running buddies – I saw that you did a double digit run on one of your Tweets! Go you!

And you were just hard at work! :)


Jennifer (The Gourmetour) June 19, 2011 at 11:21 am

Hi Ang!!! I want to visit this place! I miss you, will you be around Loyola anytime soon?


Simply Life June 18, 2011 at 6:14 pm

I’ve been a barista and a waitress and LOVED them both!


Amanda @ Running with Spoons June 18, 2011 at 6:34 pm

Awwwr your town seems like such a sweet place! I live in a bigger city, but we have some areas that are quaint like that, and I love it :D We have tonnes of food, music, and street performer festivals in the summer… the season is just getting started and I can’t wait to check em out :D


cleaneatingchelsey June 18, 2011 at 9:45 pm

That’s what I love about the Chicagoland area – you can have the big city a half hour away, but most of the towns outside of the city are cute!


Monika @ Powered By Paprika June 18, 2011 at 6:38 pm

I love working in the restaurant industry! I’ve been a waitress and barista (barista is more fun and waitress makes more $$, conundrum..)


cleaneatingchelsey June 18, 2011 at 9:45 pm

I loved waitressing – cold, hard cash.


Jenny June 18, 2011 at 6:58 pm

How fun!! We do tend to have fun festivities like that every once in awhile but it would definitely be more fun if I lived in a small town :)


Diana @ VeggieNextDoor June 18, 2011 at 7:00 pm

I’ve never worked in a restaurant before, but think working in a Vegan Cafe would be so much fun! What a cute cafe and lovely festival! I would love to check it out sometime!


Christine June 18, 2011 at 7:08 pm

I was a hostess for three summers in college- teaches you what restaurant folks go through! You teach 5th grade? I did for 2 years and loved that age (now I teach high school).


cleaneatingchelsey June 18, 2011 at 9:46 pm

I think that EVERYONE should have to work in a restaurant at some point in their life. It should like.. be a law. :)

I do teach 5th grade – love them!


Lisa @ Healthful Sense June 18, 2011 at 7:35 pm

Cute town!!


Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin June 18, 2011 at 7:54 pm

That cafe is seriously so cute! I was once a hostess at a chain restaurant, but I didn’t really like it. I think I would like working at a quaint, friendly place like that cafe a lot more!


lawfullyweddedwife June 18, 2011 at 8:13 pm

Looks so fun! In Atlanta we have a gajillion festivals during the summer, way to many for me to ever go to. Looks like working at the cafe was fun, makes me miss my bakery work!


Lindsay June 18, 2011 at 8:22 pm

We have Whaling Days in my town. It’s a huge deal, although I’ve never 100% gotten why. That’s actually when I’m doing my next race! They have the Whale of a Run 4-miler every year on the Saturday of the festival, and this will be my first year participating. I’m stoked!


Jess@HealthyExposures June 18, 2011 at 8:44 pm

i dunno, but i definitely think day and cafe rhyme. why don’t they?!
anyways. your days at the cafe must be so much fun :) i love being busy at work…makes the day fly by so much faster!


cleaneatingchelsey June 18, 2011 at 9:47 pm

I totally agree – I couldn’t believe when it was 3!!


Tabitha June 18, 2011 at 8:44 pm

CUTE! I wish there was a vegan cafe by me. Alas, no such thing exists in my area. There’s a vegetarian/mostly vegan cafe downtown, and it’s like…my favorite place to eat. : )

PS – I’m a kindergarten teacher, and “day” and “cafe” are TOTALLY acceptable rhyming words.


cleaneatingchelsey June 18, 2011 at 9:47 pm



Maria @ Beautiful Busy Bee June 18, 2011 at 8:59 pm

I live in Austin, we have SXSW!!! :)


Laura @ Meet Virginia June 18, 2011 at 9:05 pm

So fun! I want to come visit your town and the Vegan Cafe! I worked at a restaurant in Disney World one summer… pure insanity. It was actually Disney’s busiest restaurant, so it was non-stop all day long. Never again!!!


abznoats June 18, 2011 at 9:13 pm

My hometown has Heritage Days. It is crowded, has a parade, and all of that other fun stuff. The only time I have worked in the restaurant industry was during high school at the local bakery.


kaila @ healthy helper! June 18, 2011 at 9:25 pm

Looks like a fun place to work!! I want my own little quaint vegan cafe like that! Too cute!


Katherine June 18, 2011 at 9:36 pm

I work in the restaurant industry now :)


Lauren @ What Lauren Likes June 18, 2011 at 9:41 pm

Ugh I used to work in a little pizza place *shudder* I still have nightmares about green peppers and cheese in my hair, dough in my shoes, and greasy greasy hands :/ My city hosts a “Carousel of nations” every summer. Its like a mult-cultural event where every culture presents their best foods, music, and dancing!! Its reallyreally fun to try them all out :)


danidelicatessen June 18, 2011 at 10:10 pm

Your town is adorable! It reminds me of Stars Hollow from Gilmore Girls : )


Lauren June 18, 2011 at 10:25 pm

We have the Creek Fest here in Boulder. With rubber duck races and… well, I don’t actually know what else because I’ve never been. What a bad native I am! Canal days sounds like a blast. You’re impressive with your keeping clean skills, I am a mess no matter what I’m doing!


cleaneatingchelsey June 19, 2011 at 6:56 am

Canal Days in general really isn’t a blast – there’s not much. :)


Lindsay @ In Sweetness and In Health June 18, 2011 at 11:14 pm

My town has numerous art festivals which are so fun to go to! I love the jewelry booths :) My first job was as a hostess and I hated it haha…the customers didn’t like us because we “made” them wait and the waiters didn’t like us because we “gave” them bad customers. Blahh…I hope you’re having a great weekend!


Julie H. June 19, 2011 at 12:51 am

My town is either so small that I can walk across it in about 7 minutes…. or I’m just that fast. You decide…….
I am THE messiest eater around! So glad I’m not alone. Congrats on keeping the clothes clean! :) Silly, but true…. My husband can’t believe that one on the tidiest people around is so super-dooper messy while eating!


Emma (Sweet Tooth Runner) June 19, 2011 at 2:24 am

I want to live in your town!! My town is a bit rubbish really- no fun festivals or vegan cafes!! And I was a waitress in a pretty high-end restaurant for a year, and the tips were AMAZING!! :)


fitnessnfoodiegirl June 19, 2011 at 4:44 am

How cute! I love little town festivals. My home town doesn’t have much going on but at school we have a huge arts festival every year which is AWESOME! I’ve worked in the restaurant industry since I was 16… I have to say I’m not a huge fan of it, besides the cash. I do love working in little cafes though, that is my preferred restaurant job. The Vegan cafe looks adorable and like loads of fun!


Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga June 19, 2011 at 7:34 am

Does your town have a festival every summer?
Yes, tons. Every weekend, there is something in San Diego and in my neighborhood.

and I USED TO GO TO CANAL DAYS!!!!!! I used to live in Lisle. Small.World. Omg.

Have you ever worked in the restaurant industry?
Yes. For 20+ years :)


cleaneatingchelsey June 19, 2011 at 8:29 am

that is too funny!!!


Colleen @ The Lunchbox Diaries June 19, 2011 at 8:43 am

My college town used to host the Heart of Virginia festival and that was a day where the streets were jam packed! Up here in Northern VA near DC there are always festivals going on, but nothing with a small town feel. I miss it!


thefitacademic June 19, 2011 at 9:17 am

omg, I was in the industry for an entire decade! Yikes, how time flies!
I live in Tucson now and there is really NOTHING during summer – everyone leaves because its so dang hot! I’m from Austin originally, though, and they have about a million things going on at all times throughout summer!


ashleyatcookingforjohn June 19, 2011 at 9:51 am

“Good thing I’m not a kindergarten teacher. Those fifth graders come to school already knowing how to rhyme. Guess they could teach me a thing or two.”

love this! i also love when kids ask you a question that you don’t know the answer to, and the respond, “you should know, you’re a teacher!”

that’s awesome that the cafe got so much business, i’m sure the majority of people enjoyed that fresh and healthy food! :)


movesnmunchies June 19, 2011 at 10:56 am

gah that looks packedd! i wnt to work as waitress when im in college! they dnt give out jobs like that to students as much in the Uk.. or hardly ever.. waitresses here are like full grown women who work all year from from Russia and Ukoslavia (or however u spell it)..and cnt even speak proper english !


Jennifer (The Gourmetour) June 19, 2011 at 11:18 am

Omg! I know Angela! Tell her Jenn says HI!!!!!


Freya June 19, 2011 at 4:30 pm

I soooo want to visit that cafe!!
HA my ‘town’ has about 6 residents – there is no special day for anything!


char on a mission June 19, 2011 at 6:51 pm

Your town is quite the cutey pie if I might say so myself! We have this festival coming up July 8th and 9th and I work at a local smoothie shop, so I’m interested to see how business will be on those 2 nights, since we’ll be staying open extra late for the festival!!


Alaina June 19, 2011 at 11:26 pm

We had a strawberry festival in my town every June. Farms would be selling their strawberries and I always loved getting the shortcake. :-)

I worked at a steakhouse throughout college. I can’t eat there now.


Kaitlyn June 20, 2011 at 4:22 pm

I worked in foodservice for NINE YEARS. And I never once went home without a messy shirt…or pants…or body…


Lisa June 21, 2011 at 12:08 pm

Oh that sounds so fun! I want to visit a Vegan cafe so bad!! & I work as a waitress right now, it’s hard work! & I always come home covered in food :-/


Cait's Plate June 22, 2011 at 12:06 pm

Haha Cafe and Day totally rhyme – I’m giving you that one :)

Also giving you the walk from the cafe to the car as counting as a “stroll” – that’s so something I would consider a stroll. ;)

Your town is absolutely adorable – I just love quaint little places!


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