Wednesday, September 1, 2010

#14: Lula's

So this place falls a little to the “obvious” end of the measuring stick. Lula’s. That café where they have great coffee, an even greater toasted brie sandwich, poetry readings, new-ish copies of the New Yorker, a healthy mix of English majors, professors, young kids on laptops and middle-aged groups who meet for lunch, Scrabble available to play in the corner, and the best coffee-shop atmosphere for miles around. That place in South Bend you were looking for before you found it.

But really, Lula’s is a bona-fide one-of-a-kind. There aren’t that many local coffee-shops in the area, but that doesn’t mean they accept a lower standard. They feature local art work on the walls and host local events themselves, like the poetry readings mentioned above.   I’ve met countless friends for coffee here, written 15 page papers here, and spent a couple hours in the corner chair reading a good book. A good coffee-shop can function like a second home or neighborhood hangout, and while I'm not suggesting that Lula's is exactly Central Perk, I am suggesting that you should come here if you haven't been and come back often if you have.

1631 Edison Road
South Bend, IN 46637

Monday-Thursday 7:30am-10:30pm
Friday 7:30am-11:00pm
Saturday 9:00am-11:00pm
Sunday 10:00am-10:00pm

Drink Suggestions: Blackberry-vanilla Italian soda, the Autumn Elixir, Raspberry-quince hot tea
Food Suggestions: Hummus and blue-corn chips, the aforementioned toasted brie, really anything else
Best time to go: Anytime, all the time
Tip: Remember to get a drink card. You get a punch every time you order a drink and once you get to 10, you get your 11th drink for free. Ask for it at the register


  1. while I love a nice raspberry quince tea with hummus and corn chips on the side, my own personal lula's favorites include:
    -chicken, spinach, and artichoke wrap
    -the corn chowder that has some fancy name
    -and of course, their medley of latte flavors

  2. plus! a "don't-embarrass-yourself" tip: make sure to bus your table yourself. There's a cart and tub over by the bathrooms and it's common knowledge that everyone is expected to play the bus boy once they finish their blueberry-vanilla italian soda.

  3. Their couscous-hummus wrap is delish.

    Also, lula's won for best iced chai in a very unofficial taste-off of SB coffeeshops.

    And they have dozens of flavor shots, so good in lattes and steamers.

  4. This has been my home away from home for years - although they are looking for a new location, I will miss this one. So many memories - still can't believe their lease was not renewed, especially with no reason given, they've been there since '94.

    I started going occasionally when I was in high school in the late 90s. After I got out of school, and after stints at the south side Studebagels and the Barnes and Noble cafe I started working here, worked 5 nights a week for a few years - loved my co-workers, loved the regulars, met my boyfriend here when I was working. Even now a little over 5 years after leaving I can walk in and always see someone I know. The few years I worked there I had so much fun, working or hanging out with co-workers, it very much felt like a family and Lula's has always had a feeling of community. Many have moved away but this is still the only job I've ever had where I kept in touch with so many of them, even if it is just Facebook. :) I loved making the hummus during prep work, it was always my favorite thing to do for some reason! Even the odd jobs we ended up doing as employees - fixing the front door, painting, planting flowers, re-covering cushions on chairs - it all made it feel like the place was our own. At least that's how I felt about it, and even though I don't work there anymore, I still do.

    I still go in regularly for a cup of the house coffee, more so in the summer, I sit outside - I'm trying to go as often as I can for lunch or dinner too before they close, since I don't know how much of a gap there will be between this location closing and a new one re-opening. I'm not sure if they have found a new location yet, this one will be closing November 24th.

    So many people have "their" place - this is mine. I've always been a bit of a cafe rat who frequents many places in town (most often the downtown ones out of convenience since I work down here now) but this is still it for me. My home away from home, I love everything about it.

  5. Nicole - you wrote what I feel. I no longer live in South Bend, but Lula's is still my favorite Coffee shop in the WORLD. I miss the Lula's dip when I am not there, I miss the days I used to make the hummus and got to taste it when it was freshest, and more than anything, I miss the people. As you said, it is one of the only places I can think of where I can still walk in and always see someone I know even though it has been years since I left.

    It will be missed!