BUCKEYE LAKE – Jacob Foulk remembers what it was like to grow up in Buckeye Lake Village and getting into trouble in his younger years.
“One of the reasons I think people get into trouble is there’s nothing to do,” he said. Foulk believes many people associate Buckeye Lake Village with bars, so when the pastor for the New Life Pentecostal Church – located behind the Buckeye Lake Goodwill store – wanted to create something positive for people to do in Buckeye Lake Village he envisioned the New Life Café, which features billiards, an indoor basketball court, a full menu, coffee, live music, free WIFI, and even an open mic night on Fridays. It’s similar in some ways to a bar, but doesn’t sell alcohol so patrons avoid “getting drunk and in trouble.” It’s sort of a mix between a bar and a coffee house. The café is behind the Pentecostal church’s sanctuary, in the same building.
Even as an adult, Foulk said there’s a curious lack of things to do around Buckeye Lake so he worked to ensure that the café would attract all ages. “I wish they’d had something like this” when he was growing up, he said.
Foulk, who’s preached for roughly three and a half years, left Buckeye Lake for a while to study his ministry, but knew he had to return. “This is a different kind of community,” he said. “Not every pastor can understand it.”
Foulk’s goal is to create a “better Buckeye Lake” for youths and everyone else, and reverse the problems the village has with young and older people getting into trouble. The café is open from 4 to 10 p.m. every day except Sunday when it’s closed. Its grand opening was June 3 and the church sponsored a community gathering next to the building during Memorial Day Weekend, with nearly 1,000 people attending.
While the New Life Café’s menu features items like Nebuchadnezzar’s Jalapeno Poppers, Samson’s Ragin’ Cajun sandwich, and New Testament Chicken Greek Pita, Foulk stressed that the café does not have a “churchrelated” atmosphere in a stuffy sense, but rather a relaxed vibe anyone can enjoy regardless of religious beliefs provided patrons are respectful of one another.
“Once people try our coffee drinks,” he said, “they’ll keep coming.”