An Aroma of Coffee and Something More in Middleburg Heights

Seekers Coffeehouse in Middleburg Heights provides an atmosphere that attracts followers of Jesus, serving great tasting drinks and desserts, and featuring live music.
by Andrea Matetic

Crows gather at Seekers Coffehouse to hear music by local and national talent.

The smell of coffee. The clinking of silverware. The hum of friendly voices. Many people enjoy the sweet aromas and peaceful sounds of a coffeehouse. Its laid-back atmosphere provides a place where people can hang out, unwind from their busy schedules, and be entertained with music. Unfortunately, many area coffeehouses aren't suitable for children, or even adults who don't prefer the dark, smoky environment or offensive entertainment.

Seekers Coffee House, located about seventeen miles southwest of Downtown Cleveland, is the perfect alternative for people of all ages and backgrounds to gather. "It's different in the fact that it's a very subtle Christian coffeehouse," said owner Cindy Castelli. "Our mission statement is to present a nice, wholesome environment to the community and a place to unite Christians and to evangelize nonbelievers. But we don't push that. We have an unspoken motto: 'Just preach the Gospel with our lives.'"

Castelli and co-owner Paul Zorich were friends and classmates in grade school, and then went their separate ways for a few years. "We reunited our friendship when we were doing youth ministry at our church," said Castelli. "We always saw teens go to another area coffeehouse that seemed like it wasn't the greatest environment. As we talked, Paul and I recognized a need for a safe, inoffensive coffeehouse where people could hang out. So, we decided to create it." Every three or four months, Seekers invites national musicians to perform on its professional stage. Christian music artists such as, Bryan Duncan, Wes King, Ashley Cleveland, Eli, and Brother's Keeper all have performed in the past. Tickets for national artists' concerts range between $12 and $18 and may be purchased in advance. Seekers also invites national musicians for autograph signings. In January, Jaci Velasquez spent an afternoon at Seekers to promote her newest album, Unspoken, and to meet with fans.

Every Monday night, Seekers opens its stage to the public. "We have an Open Jam Night from 8 to 11 p.m. Lots of talented people from the community come in to perform, and they sign up for a fifteen-minute time slot when they walk in. Sign-ups start an hour and a half before Open Jam Night starts," explained Castelli.

Since many area youth groups meet on Wednesday nights, Seekers has designated Wednesdays from 8 to 11 p.m. as Youth Night. This special evening is provided for area youth to gather and listen to contemporary Christian music.

As if this entertainment wasn't enough, every Friday and Saturday night, local and regional musicians perform on the coffeehouse's stage. "We feature all kinds of entertainment, from jazz to blues to original rock to bluegrass. We try to appeal to everybody's taste in music, whether it's contemporary Christian music or good, clean mainstream music," said Castelli. For local and regional entertainers, Seekers requests a $2 or $3 admission fee at the door.

"My favorite drink is the iced chai," said employee Chrissy Madjar. "I like its creamy texture. It's like a melted milkshake." Along with coffees and espressos, the menu features such items as soup of the day, wraps served with a side of pasta salad, gourmet chili, hot pretzels stuffed with cream cheese, chicken and tuna salad sandwiches, humus and pita, and personal pizzas. Desserts are freshly made, and include Oreo cheesecake, pumpkin cheesecake, and chocolate mousse cake, among others.

Seekers also provides reserved places for church groups and other organizations to gather during the week. Its regular working hours are as follows: Monday through Thursday from 7 a.m. till 11p.m.; Friday from 7 a.m. till midnight; Saturday from 7:30 a.m. till midnight; and Sunday from noon till 10 p.m.

Seekers Coffee House is located at 13365 Smith Road in Middleburg Heights at Southland shopping center. Another Seekers recently opened in Dyer, Indiana, 40 minutes southeast of Chicago, and they currently are expanding to areas such as Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Ashland, Kentucky; and Bourbonnais, Illinois. The last three are now in the planning stages and are all scheduled to open their doors sometime within the next year.

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