100th Monkey Cafe and Books, located near the corner of 5th and Ivy, recently held its grand opening. The business offers breakfast, lunch and dinner with a bit of a twist. Thursday through Sunday night they serve up Jamaican vegan cuisine. Owner Jill Lacefield says she opened the business to provide an outlet for people to express themselves artistically.
"We need more gathering places where people are unplugged; where we can come have some nice coffee together, some good food, and get to know each other and have conversations that matter to us," she says.
The name 100th Monkey was inspired by a study done on a Japanese island in the 1950's. Researchers studied a group of monkeys that learned to wash their food by observing and imitating each other. When the 100th monkey adopted the behavior, it spread to nearby islands without the monkeys having any physical contact. Lacefield says the concept symbolizes society's power to make positive changes if enough people share the same idea. The cafe hosts open mic nights every Wednesday night and storytelling events every month. There's also artwork and photographs by local artists throughout the business. Despite some of the monkey business associated with the Five and I area, it didn't discourage Lacefield from locating her cafe near the busy corner.
"It's been just beautiful. I think the young adults in this neighborhood appreciate a place, like we all do, that they feel welcome," she says.