I love walking into places where everyone knows each other. The familiarity, even if I’m not quite a part of it, is totally comforting.
Caritas Village in the Binghampton neighborhood is one of those places. The name means “love for all people”, and boy, do they mean it. Founder Onie Johns has made a cozy coffee shop and meeting space out of the basement of an old Masonic lodge.
I’ll definitely be making more visits to Caritas Village. I love that it’s part coffee shop, part art gallery, part meeting hall, and part living room. They’ve easily got the friendliest staff in Memphis. Caritas seems like one of those places that’s impossible to visit once without becoming a regular.
I had lunch there today, and $5.75 got me a mug of hot tea, a chicken salad sandwich, and a bowl of chicken and mushroom soup. The chicken salad was great – not too mayonaisey, no fruit or nuts, just a little bit of spice. The soup was full of veggies and chunks of chicken.
There were a lot of people there during lunch – several large groups, a few families, and a handful of individuals. I spent some time talking to Kimberly Pettiès, a chef that lives across the street from Caritas. We talked about wine, our mutual love for the Viet Hoa food market’s fish section, and laptops.
Caritas Village can be a little tricky to find. The easiest way to get there is to take Sam Cooper to Merton, head South on Merton, and you’ll see it at the corner of Harvard and Merton. There’s a lot to park in on Harvard.