Thistle Stop Café: This Week's Dining Review



In this week's Scene, restaurant critic Carrington Fox has a particularly uplifting piece about the recently opened Thistle Stop Café, the latest enterprise from Magadalene, a residential program for women who have survived lives of prostitution, trafficking, addiction and life on the streets. Magdalene was founded by the Rev. Becca Stevens, an Episcopal priest at Vanderbilt's St. Augustine's Chapel, in 1997.

Nashville — in particular, its rising restaurant scene — is the story of the moment. From The New York Times to Food & Wine, reporters are chronicling the ascendancy of Music City with such breathless narration of kale salad and hot chicken you'd think life here was a cabaret of artisan bacon and craft cocktails against a backdrop of reclaimed barnwood and bespoke denim. It makes for a good read.

But there is a deeper, quieter, longer-running story about life in Nashville that's not so obvious to the visiting trend-spotter. For the layover journalist attempting to capture the character of the city — culinary or otherwise — might we suggest adding the Thistle Stop Café to your itinerary? Because you'd be hard-pressed to find a location that tells a more endearing or hopeful story about the people who live here.

Located on the block of Charlotte Pike where Magdalene House's Thistle Farms social enterprise manufactures paper goods and body care products, Thistle Stop Café is the latest chapter in Magdalene's ministry for women who have survived prostitution, trafficking and addiction.

When it comes to stories, you might hear some doozies as you stand in line for a chai latte at Thistle Stop. For example, the barista might tell you how she was strung out on heroin, hoping to die, until Magdalene's two-year residential program saved her life. Now she's efficiently and gregariously managing a crew of servers in the hottest lunch spot in the latest It City. Now that's a good story.

Read the whole story here.

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