Column: Coffee crowd has a room of their own

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Commentary by Donna Monday

Forty years. Must be something biblical about that number. It’s how long ago I came to Zionsville, and I’m getting nostalgic. Which is how I was feeling when I came across a little story that reminded me of the Zionsville I knew 40 years ago.

Zionsville was easy to love 40 years ago. It truly was a village. Almost everybody knew everybody else.

Then as now, people liked to start their mornings with friends and their favorite beverage (not necessarily in that order.) Back then, the place to start was McKamey’s Village Pharmacy at Main and Cedar. Today, there are lots of places, one of them being McDonald’s on West Oak Street. It’s easy to find. Just look for the golden arches and construction trucks. Lots and lots of construction trucks. That’s because, after almost five years of doing business there, the restaurant is undergoing extensive renovation. It’s open for drive-thru only, which presented a problem for owner John Liapes – what to do about the regulars? He was especially concerned about the old folks who start every day with each other and a drink at his place.

“I didn’t want to see them displaced,” said John, who got creative. He arranged to have a room for the troops at Town Hall. Folks can get food at the drive-thru and take it with them to Town Hall. There, they can start their day together at one long table with tall, comfy chairs. Looks like a board room, which is appropriate considering the big decisions the retirees claim to make when they’re together.

“I just think it’s awesome that he would look out for his clientele, ” Garry Crone said.

“Yeah,” said Gary Mann, “and to realize we are long of tooth and might not find our way to another place.”

John said the coffee room is to show gratitude for the loyalty of customers.

“Basically, people have three places in their daily lives: home, work and somewhere else,” he said. “We want to be the somewhere else.”

The room is open 8 to 10:30 a.m. Monday through Friday until the restaurant re-opens, which is expected by mid-month.

“Hopefully, we will be on target for that,” John said.

Then, the coffee crowd can come home to the golden arches. Same people, same drinks, same conversations.

Like it never happened.

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