The Yellow Bird Café: A Harrisburg “perch” for Messiah students

By Abigail McBride
Student Writer

Nestled in downtown Harrisburg, the Yellow Bird Café regularly welcomes many Messiah students.

Its brightly colored walls, ambient music, and rotating local art provide a restful spot for homesick as well as the studious students. Interestingly enough, this café has many ties to Messiah College: it is owned by Messiah graduates, often features the work of Messiah artists, and is a favorite off-campus spot for students.

“It’s just such a happy, joyous place,” said Sara Vono, a sophomore. “I go there every weekend. I really enjoy the calming atmosphere, from the soft music to the art to the great food. I think everybody should go there. It’s a great way to get some downtown Harrisburg culture.”

The café is located on Third Street, a few buildings down from the Midtown Scholar Bookstore. It sports a cheerful sign with a chipper yellow bird in the center. Students entering the café are welcomed by the light wood, plush chairs, and natural light.

However, the café’s greatest asset is undeniably its menu. Thick English muffins, fresh paninis, homemade pop tarts, and great coffee are just a few favorites.

“They have the best egg sandwiches ever,” declared Meg Albohn, a senior at Messiah.

The Yellow Bird seems to have hit a sweet spot with its combination of atmosphere and food. It invites students to create both comfortable habits and unique memories.

“My boyfriend and I had our first date here,” Albohn recalled.

The café has been open since February 2013, and it is run by Stephanie and Ammon Perry.

Stephanie said that their vision “…is to create a space that is comfortable for our Midtown neighbors and the surrounding community to come eat great-tasting food (they make our own breads and pastries), hang out, drink wonderful local coffee (from One Good Woman), check out local artwork, and relax with friends.”

Both Stephanie and Ammon are Messiah alumni who have created a unique café that incorporates many aspects of culture into one location. Their grassroots approach spotlights the growing Harrisburg art scene.

Stephanie emphasizes local flair. “The art wall allows us to bring in local artists and showcase that person for the month,” she said. “The variety of artwork draws in customers, creates interesting conversation and allows them to interact with local artists.”

The dynamic of the café provides a welcoming relief from the rush of fall academics and routine. The cozy size, hot brewing coffee, and comfortable interior create a kind of shelter from the increasing cold.

At this time of year in particular, it is also the right kind of destination to relieve end of the semester stress.

The Yellow Bird Café is located at 1320 N. Third Street. It is open Tuesday through Saturday 7 a.m.-3 p.m. and Sundays 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

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