Welcome to the Hard Luck Café

BY KARIN RINGHEIM

The story of a friendship between two women intertwines with those of the colorful staff and patrons of the Hard Luck Café, owned by recovering alcoholics, Joe and Mimi. The Café, known for its friendly atmosphere and all-day breakfasts, provides employment and an opportunity for those recently out of rehab to reintegrate. Together Joe and Mimi have helped many lost souls get back on their feet. A favorite breakfast place for Anne, a therapist, and her lifelong friend Cynthia, a divorced mother estranged from her teenaged daughter, Katie, the Hard Luck Café eventually welcomes Cynthia as a fragile recruit aiming to get her life back on track. The staff of the Hard Luck, - the charmingly naïve Dan, the street-wise Hazel, and the frustrated Alexis, - support one another and shore up their patrons in recovery, even as they seek to restore love to their own fractured lives. Patrons, including Alexis’s commitment-phobic boyfriend, Marcus, his rehab mate, Greg, and the drying drunk Richard, hang out in the Café as they used to hang in bars, knowing that at the Hard Luck Café they will find support for the struggle, or, if need be, a figurative swift slap upside the head. Through shared struggle, friendship and the “griddle” therapy served up at the Café, Cindy and her coworkers learn to overcome regret and live gratefully day by day. As they gather to celebrate Cindy’s long delayed graduation from college, Katie reemerges, cautiously acknowledging her mother’s transformation.