Eating & Drinking Family Friendly

Freedom Cafe at Northside Branch Library

Have you guys been to the newest Columbus Metropolitan Library Branch yet? The Northside Branch is beautiful and it features Freedom A La Cart’s first entrance into the cafe world. Well, I already approve because when we walked in, they had a giant jug of Cold Brew. My kind of place. 

If you aren’t familiar with the amazing work of Freedom A La Cart, here is a little background on the great organization. “In 2009, our founder, Julie Clark, established Doma International as a community-based support program for adult survivors of human trafficking.  Two years later we expanded the program to fill the void between restoration and economic independence, and purchased a food cart as a work force training tool for survivors. While Doma offered supportive services toward restoration, Freedom a la Cart social enterprise gave survivors a job and means to live.  Freedom became the vehicle – literally – through which survivors began the ever important first steps to self-sufficiency.”

My wonderful friend, Tiffany, actually had Freedom A La Cart cater her wedding several years ago and I’ve been a huge supporter since that wonderful day. This actually came full circle because Tiffany invited us to this fun little shin dig featuring Freedom A La Cart. I love how the world works sometimes. In the past, Freedom A La Cart has been strictly catering featuring boxed lunches, breakfast items, dinner items, dessert, and hors d’oeuvres. A catering company that also has a fantastic social background? Sign us up. 

We got to sample a ton of their breakfast and dessert items when visiting the Northside Branch. They were all amazing. I mean homemade banana bread and morning glory muffins are hard to turn away from. Just add in that you are surrounded by a gorgeous library and espresso. I imagine that’s what heaven is like. 

Their selection will rotate as needed, but my hope is that they always keep this lemon raspberry bread because it’s right up my alley. 

Okay, maybe also keep the chocolate pecan brownies. I’m really picky about brownies because I like them to be just fudgy enough but still have that little crackly layer on top. These ones hit the jackpot. 

Okay, so these cookies were crazy. Now I can’t remember exactly what was inside of them, but I know there was a little surprise that threw me off because it was different than any peanut butter cookie I’ve ever had. Don’t worry, I’ll update this when I remember. Mom brain is real, ya’ll. Well, I can’t write about Freedom Cafe and not mention the beautiful new library! The Northside Branch sits in between the beginning of Short North and the end of Ohio State’s Campus. Or, as we called it in college, “a place you never walked alone.” All that has been changing since I graduated a “short” five years ago. With the addition of that Kroger Marketplace and what I call the “squish” between Short North and OSU Campus, there is a ton of remodeling going on down there. 

Since we happened to be at this beautiful new facility, we decided to get Baby O her first Library Card! Although she would still rather chew on books than read them, it’s never too early to get them involved. I haven’t really frequented our public libraries since I was a VolunTeen back in my high school years. I’m so impressed with the new facilities they’ve updated and just general guidelines for library etiqutte. Since Baby O hasn’t really mastered her inside voice, I get nervous to take her to places that require a low decibel. My sister, who is a frequent vistor to Columbus Metropolitan Libraries, informed me that they are trying to change the library culture and it’s okay if she gets a little excited. I mean, don’t we all want our kids to get excited about books? 

While O can’t quite use everything in the kid’s area, I appreciate the upgraded technology and fun approach to education that I found at the Northside Branch. Tons of board books for the little ones and tablets for older kids who want to do a bit of interactive learning. 

I mean I just think this is super cute. I’m pretty sure this is where they host their kid friendly events like Kindergarten Boot Camp and Family Storytime. If you are looking for a quick, fun and free way to spend some time with your little ones, look to the library!  

When you walk in to the Northside Branch, you might assume it’s pretty small. But, don’t be fooled. The lower level is filled with books and the wonderful Freedom Cafe, but you can keep going up stairs that follow floor to celing glass walls. You’ll find private rooms you can rent for meetings, classes, or just general quiet working time. Go up another level and you’ll find an area littered with computers and more books that boasts a pretty beautiful view of the city. Now, when you are thinking about something fun to do for the whole family, we suggest you head to the Northside Branch. Grab a drink and a snack from Freedom Cafe then relax with your favorite books while soaking in the sunlight on one of those top floors. And remember, it’s never too young to get your first library card! 

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