Driving through picturesque Butler, you probably wouldn’t know that a very special restaurant lies inside a huge church.
The Crossroads Cafe is inside Three Crosses Church, where State Routes 95 and 97 intersect.
The cafe can be full of diners on some days, and has been the place of choice for people who have said they had just “flown into the area.”
Rinda Sansom, who manages the cafe, said she’s been told by several people that they had flown into an airfield at a local farm, then traversed to the restaurant.
One group said they had been “out flying anyhow.”
The cafe is inside the entry doors to the church, before you get to the sanctuary. Signs advertise free coffee Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 to 11 a.m.
The menu was devised by Sansom, and she said she wanted it to be on the “healthier side.”
There is a salad bar, which featues astonishingly beautiful deviled eggs.
The sandwich menu has wrap sandwiches, “classics” like meats with lettuce, tomato and cheese, plus quiche.
She said it is not true that real men don’t eat quiche. Those get eaten enthusiastically by males who dine there, she said.
One day last week all the tables in the cafe were full.
Sansom said one group formed of class members who graduated in 1955 dines there, as does a group of retired teachers from Malabar.
The cafe has had diners from Mt. Gilead, Galion, Mt. Vernon, Loudonville and Fredericktown.
People don’t need to make a reservation, Sansom said, but if a larger group is coming — maybe six — it’s wise to call ahead to be sure a table will be available.
There are three rectangular tables, as well as several smaller ones.
Sansom said she has volunteers — usually one a day. There is an NSF (National Science Foundation) approved kitchen in the basement of the church, where food is prepared. Because it is a working food establishment, Richland County Health Department inspectors make visits.
The menu includes soups, the salad bar, sandwiches, a la carte items, and a “Little Shepherd’s” menu, for youngsters. On the Little Shepherds’ menu, a person can get an all beef hot dog, a PB and J, mac n cheese, or cheese quesadilla.
Sansom said they have a number of “to go” orders, particularly from people at schools. When there are leftovers at the end of the week, she takes foods to shut-ins.
Sansom can be easily spotted at the cafe, because she always wears a hat. The health department requires hair coverings, and she said she doesn’t think traditional hair coverings — nets — are classy.
She says she has a “whole stack” of hats in a closet.
Once, a group of regular customers, a sewing group, came into the cafe, all wearing hats.
The cafe has places where people can post notices.
One says “Three little kittens looking for good home. 6 weeks old on Aug. 12.”
It has a phone number.
Asked if there had been any takers on the free kittens poster, Sansom said no.
She confesses she is a cat lover, and says all hers at home were taken care of— bottle fed.