Owosso's first all-night hangout - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Owosso's first all-night hangout

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(01/24/13) - "The Serene Bean" in Owosso opened about a year and a half ago as something between a food kitchen, a restaurant, and a coffee shop.

"We started with one dollar in the till for change, one plate of cookies, and a couple pots of coffee and that is all," says owner Tom Manke.  "And one volunteer."

The restaurant features a "donations only" menu - pay what you can, and the staff is completely volunteer.  They don't even make a work schedule. Many of the volunteers are teenagers who started as customers.

"My mom brought me in here," says Jeff Lawless. "I talked to (Tom Manke), and the next day I just kept coming in."

The recent cold spell across Michigan had volunteers thinking they needed to do more, so they decided to change their hours so that they remain open through the cold nights.

"Shiawassee County doesn't have a homeless shelter, so there's a lot of people on the streets," says volunteer Steve Pratt. "We wanted to give people some place to go where they could warm up and grab some food, good food too."

The food is, indeed, not what you'd expect as a "donation only" restaurant. The menu features fresh, homemade food. From monstrous reubens and burgers, to homemade chili and smoothies.

Right now, "The Serene Bean" is open until 8 a.m. Monday-Friday, and Saturday night as well.

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