Jennifer Bell, owner of the Food for Thought Cafe, located inside the Allen library. 

Soup’s on

Café owner feeds minds, bodies and souls

Chances are if you’ve visited the Allen Public Library a few times, you’ve come across the nice lady in the cozy little café out in the lobby brewing up coffee, slapping together sandwiches and ladling out soup.

Her name is Jennifer Bell – “like the taco,” she’ll tell you – owner of the Food for Thought Café. Bell thinks food is meant for more than just sustaining the body; that’s why her website says “feeding the mind, body and soul.” Her food and the library atmosphere take care of the mind and body – her warm, attentive service and personality take care of the soul.

Born in Oakland and raised in Alaska, Bell previously worked with life skills students at Allen High School before going into the food business. When not working at the café, she likes to go to the movies with her sons. Bell took time to talk food, technology and what she used to sneak around to watch on TV as a kid.

What is the most challenging part of having your own business?

The biggest challenge is maintaining the business and a personal life. The business typically owns you, so finding a balance is difficult but rewarding.

What is your favorite meal?

Homemade fried chicken, Asian slaw, peach sangria and German chocolate cake.

You don’t have a cell phone. Is it as liberating as it sounds?

My purse was stolen and subsequently my cell phone with it – I didn’t replace it for about a month. It reminds you that we are completely capable without being at anyone’s immediate disposal, including your own. There are more important priorities to manage.

What was the best thing that happened to you this past weekend?

We go to the Chestnut Square Farmers Market (in McKinney) every Saturday and purchase produce (our favorite is Gilbert Pruett Farms and our coffee roasters Coffee Del Rey are there as well). Saturday is a favorite day for me because of it.

What was your favorite TV show growing up?

I love “Saturday Night Live” and used to sneak downstairs to watch it.

If you owned a CB radio, what would your “handle” be?

My nickname in college was “Snacks,” and that seems fitting.

Fill in the blank: “My biggest pet peeve is                   .”


What’s your favorite line from any movie?

“Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.” (Andy Dufresne, “The Shawshank Redemption”)

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