Main Street Mainstays: Café Shiloh, a place of refuge

The relatively new Café Shiloh, which opened this fall, offers a quiet setting for students to catch their breath during a busy day and to enjoy a cup of coffee.

Before entering I couldn't help but notice their very forgiving hours, like 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays, except for Monday when it is closed entirely.

Almost immediately I was welcomed by two very polite workers, who I later learned are part of a staff of about 20 community members, most of which are students. None are paid, which helps to keep Café Shiloh's prices so incredibly low and this place of refuge going.

Many of these student volunteers are involved in Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, which holds its meetings in a large back room of the café. Owner Mark Shepard welcomed other groups to utilize this room for meetings as well, but asked that they contact him beforehand. He can be reached at

At this time the menu is limited to mostly desserts and drinks. They offer a variety of beverages, from Nantucket Nectars and Snapples to flavored cappuccinos and other caffeinated beverages.

Café Shiloh is currently without sandwiches, but plans to add them to the menu in the near future. I opted for a bagel with cream cheese after I saw it would only set me back $1.25. It was above average, soaring above the quality of taste I typically find through Campus Auxiliary Services. They also sell Cheesecake Factory cheesecake for $2.25 - a strikingly low price - and have a multitude of mouthwatering flavors such as white chocolate raspberry truffle, chocolate mousse and Snickers, among others.

With prices so cheap, I was surprised to find out there is only a suggested donation, meaning that if one were to choose to, they could pay nothing for their meal. I am hard-pressed to think of the person who would turn down paying for a one-dollar bagel, but Café Shiloh's generosity serves to open a place of comfort to just about anyone. Their slim profits go only to upkeep, general maintenance and, of course, purchasing the food.

Shiloh, Hebrew for "place of rest," aptly describes the café's intention to offer a quiet getaway for members of the Geneseo community. Café Shiloh is perfect for the overly stressed student. The walls, table pamphlets and music feature Christian motifs, none of which are overly aggressive, but make it clear that religion is a company value.

Students are encouraged to hang their artwork on a designated wall and eventually completely cover it. Café Shiloh also offers a bookshelf containing many books, largely religious, that are available for the public to borrow under the agreement that they will someday be returned.

Café Shiloh is located on Main Street, right next to Kerry's Cut Above.