Cafe has high hopes despite lease issue


By Carl Nadig

Students and locals might be singing a requiem for a cafe come November.

Unofficially called “the Center of the Universe” by customers and employees, the House Cafe, 263 E. Lincoln Highway, has an uncertain future. As cafe owner Jan Pascolini, who declined to comment, has not yet renewed the property’s lease agreement.

Matthew Clark, who is also known as Jolly Baba, has been the cafe’s front man for 11 years. Baba produces and promotes the cafe’s weekly events by living under his mantra of “meeting, greeting, shaking hands and being friendly.” Baba is not as afraid of losing loyal clientele as he is concerned a new owner could alter the cafe’s atmosphere.

“We’d like to continue,” Baba said. “I think folks are aware that something could come in here radically different. I don’t know what it would be, but that would mean that the House Cafe, in this location, would cease to exist … Let’s keep the vibes alive.”

The House Cafe has become accustomed to interchanging owners and has undergone reopening before with little changes.

“I’m really happy about what we’ve achieved,” said cafe decorator Chris Stanley. “It’s really [the] closest to the original goal of the beginning … to get a stage and get those individuals to show us their stuff: To teach us, to entertain us [and] to enthuse us.”

Stanley remains optimistic about the venue’s future. Even if the business changes, he hopes the cafe remains true to its roots.

“Other venues, when they start, they start with big money and we didn’t,” Stanley said. “We just stuck to,‘We’re going to listen to the community. We’re going to see who’s here, and can we attract them?’”

Some students feel losing the House could be bad for potential bands.

“A lot of musicians and local talent are going to lose a really big meeting hub they have and a lot of friendships that could be possibly made there,” said Jacob Blair, junior computer science major. “We’re all going to lose that if we lose the House.”

The cafe has been a venue for local musicians and students alike.

“I love performing there,” said Annelise Stauersboll, sophomore music performance and composition major. “And it’s a great place to go and be around other people who love music.”