The Light Rail Café and Roaster Serves Historical Ambiance

By Grace McDillon

Do you want an off-campus option for a place to spend an afternoon chatting with friends while munching on made-from-scratch baked goods, a soothing atmosphere to study, or simply a chance to relax with gourmet coffee and a good book? Just down the road leading from Westy into the Village at Winona, lies The Light Rail Café and Roaster—a local eatery that meets all of the above criteria and more.

Having recently undergone renovations, The Light Rail provides a welcoming atmosphere to everyone in Winona Lake including Grace College students. Joel Squires, manager of The Light Rail, said, “We just want people to feel comfortable and just walk in and have a good time—feeling relaxed.” Not only is the ambience one of comfort, it is also closely tied to Winona Lake’s history. Squires said, “Our name has to do with an old train system that used to be in town, so we kind of wanted that rustic, kind of modern look. We also have subway tile underneath the counter… and all of our stuff is kind of industrial-looking.” If ever you’ve doubted that industrial and relaxing could occur simultaneously, step into The Light Rail to be proven dead wrong.

Now, few folks want to step into a restaurant and sit down just to enjoy the relaxing atmosphere. If you are one of those folks, then The Light Rail would be perfect. However, if you are one of those folks who also enjoys eating while sitting in a restaurant, then… The Light Rail is also perfect! “Everything we do is from scratch. So we make all of our breads, all of our biscuits in-house. We even do some of our meats…our soups too. We bake all of our pizzas and sandwiches in the hearth oven,” said Squires. He specifically recommends the pastrami sandwich and the blanco pizza. The specialty coffee, iced buttermilk donuts, and scones are just a smattering of the scrumptious goodies that The Light Rail offers…a smattering of goodies that I have personally tried and for which I can vouch! For the full menu, check out The Light Rail on Facebook or just walk there! It is certainly worth a brisk stroll to see and most likely taste a wonderful menu.

Though The Light Rail is currently open from 7 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Saturday, Squires said that, down the road, they are looking to be open for dinner. Until then, head on down to The Light Rail for a fresh cup of coffee and scone in the morning or a freshly made bowl of soup for lunch. On these bitterly cold winter days, I cannot imagine a cozier, more welcoming place than the sanctuary of The Light Rail Café and Roaster.