Teddy Bears in the Cafe and Paris in the Second

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I never know where life will surprise me on a regular Friday. The weather is not the worst, but gray clouds are flying in my head. However in the early afternoon, after work, I am looking for an outstanding sandwich and good coffee. Though it would be best to use a time machine and move elsewhere.

I stay downtown but don’t like anything so I go to my favorite Dominick Street. And I’m drawn to the Rouge cafe with the teddy bears that I once saw through the window. I walk through the door of a rustic interior of a former French restaurant, and in an instant turn the windy Galway into an intimate corner in Paris. Oak tables scattered like the Place du Tertre, scarlet sofas on the sides, and 17 teddies after lunch. But they still sit at the tables since the beginning of the pandemic.

I choose a place next to one teddy bear under a concertina lamp. In a moment the owner and the Frenchwoman Helen is bringing me a hot sandwich on fresh baking sourdough bread with cheese, tomatoes, and fluffy-herbal béchamel. It’s yummy! – Ça Va – so says the boy who came straight from school and also sat down next to the teddy bear. I take a sip of Sun Day coffee, light up, and relax with a teddy bear’s companion.

During the pandemic and due to further restrictions, we could not run our restaurant, so we put teddies by the tables instead of people – says Helen, a French woman and the owner of the restaurant. – We dreamed that it would not be an empty space. But now, we donate our teddies to charity as we are going to make more room for our guests soon.

However, I will miss teddies because sitting in their company is so cozy. So run to Rouge while they’re still there.

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