Lowrider Cafe is about to celebrate its third year in business. The cafe was dedicated to the community by giving back and providing a way to pay it forward.
TOLEDO, Ohio — Leaders helping the homeless at the Cherry Street Mission said the number of people served on a monthly basis nearly doubled year over year.
It is not just the mission that is noticing an increase. Jacob Estrada, owner of the Lowrider Cafe, also noticed the uptick.
“We want people to walk into this restaurant and feel like no matter their stature, where they’re from, their background, where they’re at in life, they can sit down and come in and have a drink. meals in society,” Estrada said. .
For Estrada, his downtown Toledo cafe located off Michigan Street is more than just your average restaurant, but a community center aimed at giving back.
RELATED: New restaurant brings new hope to Toledo man
As the restaurant sees the light of day in three years, they finally want to celebrate what they haven’t done in the other years.
“We got into it. We didn’t have time for an official celebration or anything, and then when we wanted to for our first anniversary, COVID hit,” Estrada said.
They have much to be proud of; from their extensive menu to their “love tokens” which can be bought and kept, or donated for use by anyone in need of a meal. Estrada said the tokens were in higher demand this summer.
“Our numbers have increased with people coming in and getting love tokens. Now it’s not just homeless people coming in anymore. More low-income people,” he said. “Obviously with the prices going up on everything, I think people are taking advantage of that to come and get a free meal because everything helps.”
Love Tokens cost $7 and are an easy way to pay it back.
“We’re pretty depleted of our love tokens, so there’s a need for that right now, if the community wants to partner with that,” Estrada said.
One such person who finds support in the tokens is John, who was homeless and met Estrada while working at Cherry Street Mission. Now John has a house and works as a salesman for the Toledo Streets newspaper.
“For us vendors, once a month we can come in at 2 p.m. and get a free meal as a sign of love, a free Mexican meal,” John said. “That’s very nice.”
And for Estrada, a token of love is much more than a piece of wood. It’s a token of appreciation for Toledo, as the Lowrider Cafe celebrates its third anniversary on July 25 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.