I regularly have "meeting days" in SF with potential clients or networking contacts. I almost always have the other person pick the place because it rewards me with a great find once in a while. Crossroads Cafe is one of them. The cafe is " a training school of the Delancey Street Foundation, the country's largest and most acclaimed self-help residential educational center for people who have hit bottom to completely rebuild their lives." The people who work there are part of the "community of last resort" and proud of it. They work hard and are friendly to customers and each other. Apart from the broad range of offerings and great prices, the cafe is a perfect place for some book browsing, quiet conversations, or contemplation by oneself. Their model is to use the bookstore/cafe as a training ground and stable environment to get people back on their feet. In working there, they are also giving back to the community, and thus the community gives back to them. It is a great virtuous cycle. Every community should have one of these. Leave it to the mindfulness and design expert I met with to show me here :)
Click on the pics above to learn more about the Delancey Street Foundation.
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