Since I moved into my new place this year, I’ve been tantalized everyime I walk down Hennepin Ave. You see, there’s this restaurant that I’ve been yearning to go eat at. It’s a small, hole-in-the-wall kind of place that’s been tempting me with its welcoming sign and bright neon beacon of an open sign. The place? The “Caribbean Coffee Shack.”

“But why not just go and eat there?” you ask. Well friends, it’s not quite that simple.

Often times I’ll stroll by the storefront between the hours of noon and five in the afternoon and cross my fingers, thinking: “this time, this time will be the time that I fiiiinally get in.” I think this, not because of the exclusivity or eliteness of the restaurant, but for the sheer difficulty of getting into the building.

Upon trying the front door, without fail, I find it securely deadbolted. With the red and blue open sign illuminated, all the interior lights on, and the tables axiously awaiting customers, the index card scotch-taped to the front window sneers their hours of operation at me. 

“We are, as a matter of fact, open for business” it jeers through the glass.

Or at least, they’re supposed to be.

This marked the beginning of something dreadfully heartwrenching. Every time I’d pass it, I’d think: “What a great little restaurant! I’ll go in and get something.” But my efforts were always to no avail. The front door was always locked.

This enigma haunted me for weeks, nay, months, until that one fateful day when I decided to try the back door. That, my friends, was just the ticket.

Upon entering, I was immediately overwhelmed by the comforting warmth that comes from having too large of a radiator in too small of a room. Excited to be living a dream-come-true, I ripped off my hat and coat and oggled the menu. The instant after I ordered, I phoned my roommate Scotty to tell him the miraculous news.

“I got in!” I practically shouted. “You gotta come down here. It’s awesome!”

Scotty came a few minutes later, and we spent the rest of the afternoon chatting with the affable store owner. He closed early that day, but finally getting to eat at his adorable little establishment and chat with him for a while made up it.

I have yet to return to the Caribbean Coffee Shack, but I plan to soon. At least now I can rest assured knowing that it’s everything I dreamed it would be.