In a quaint, Victorian house along King Street in downtown Shippensburg is the borough’s newest restaurant, the Aloha Café.
The cafe offers fresh “good-for-you” foods, including both gluten-free and vegan options.
Owner Virginia Coover saw a need for more diverse restaurants in Shippensburg, but that is not the only reason she picked her menu.
“My sister follows a strictly gluten-free diet. That’s why I chose my menu,” she said.
Coover also added smoothie bowls after a Shippensburg University student expressed interest in the dish.
Coover’s focus is on fresh foods that taste good and are good for the customer. She shops at Aldi and local grocery stores, and plans on getting fresh fruits and vegetables from local farm stands this summer.
“I have a very small kitchen, so I’m shopping every day,” Coover explained.
The name of the cafe comes from a series of Google searches after a friend got a tattoo that said “ohana,” which means family.
She chose “aloha” because the meaning behind the word resonated with her.
“I like the way it sounds, but I really love the meaning of the word — ‘Love, peace, compassion,’” she said.
Coover set out to create a welcoming atmosphere for all customers.
“My goal is to create an environment people feel welcome, comfortable and at peace, and they also can get good food and buy a unique gift. I want people to feel like they can linger, and not feel rushed to consume their food and get out the door,” she said.
In the front of the cafe are local-made gifts and crafts including pottery by The Clay Money and inked vases by Kia’s Krafts. Coover is working to add more crafts in the future.
Coover — who said she never thought she would end up in food service — had a career in nursing for 16 years before working with her husband in real estate sales and property management for 11 years.
Now, customers can find Coover in the kitchen creating new salads, soups, sandwiches and baked goods.
While there is no student discount right now, there is a rewards program available in the Clover app.
Aloha Café is located at 20 W. King St. in downtown Shippensburg. It is open Monday through Friday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and the first and third Saturdays of the month from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.