Organic vegan carob brownies helped feed a steady stream of customers at yesterday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony and grand opening of the Maté Factor Café. Run by the religious group known as the Twelve Tribes, the café occupies the former site of the Home Dairy on the Commons.
Alesha Myers ’04 and Mike Reardon stopped in partly because of the café’s elaborate wood decor.
“I stopped in a few days ago,” Reardon said, “it looked fantastic.”
Customers were treated to live folk music and samples of the café’s cookies, wraps and maté, a tea-like drink of South American origins.
“We’ve had a few hundred people come in today,” said Sholom, a member of the Twelve Tribes.
The café also features wireless internet. While there are plans to be open 24 hours a day, closing on Saturdays to observe the Sabbath, the café’s schedule is currently unsettled, Twelve Tribes member Tom Rivera said.
Rivera believes the café will appeal to the student palate.
“The [belgian] waffles are for late-night college students,” Rivera said.
The Twelve Tribes’ beliefs on issues of race and disapproval of homosexuality are frequently cited by those advocating a consumer boycott. Several of the patrons said they were still making up their minds about the group.
“My feeling is that we should give them a chance to be part of the community,” one cafégoer said, “I hope that people give them a chance.
Jane McPheeters, president of the Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce, and Ithaca Downtown Partnership Director Gary Ferguson were present for the ribbon-cutting, as were representatives from City Hall, Rivera said.
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