"It was a bait and tackle. It's had a lot of little lives. It was a smoking-cigars-having-a-package-of-crackers place ... just sitting around," shares Susan (in glasses below). She runs Johnny's Gone Fishing, a coffee shop in a 1930s building that once housed a grocery store, then a bait & tackle shop, and finally a quirky community center. It's located off Main Street in Carrboro and has a warm community vibe that encourages folks to stay longer than perhaps otherwise anticipated. Open seven days a week, the shop offers baked goods, homemade ice cream, beer/wine, and a kaleidoscope of happenings: music jams, puppet shows, live performances, farmers markets, cook outs, kids story time, songwriter circles, food trucks. One think you'll no longer find are hooks and poles.
"People come in and have a flashback from their childhood: 'Ah, that's where the crickets were ...' They have these memory connections. I often hear people tell stories when they were a child. It was a good ol' boys place. Some still come in and are looking for worms," she says, then pauses remembering. "I have a worm guy, I need to remember to keep worms in the fall."
As she is talking, a shop regular is filling his coffee at the counter. The postman marches in á la Cliff from Cheers greeting folks with a hearty laugh. A woman is buried in a book in the sun room. Susan explains she recently moved here from Europe and lives across the street.
"We have all the coolest people come in here...There's something special about this place."
(photographs taken at Johnny's Gone Fishing, 901 West Main Street in Carrboro)