Susie’s Café

Xenia Avenue Project’s first goal is transforming a once great hardware store into a small coffee shop. The plan is to name the café after a woman who strolled Xenia Avenue as a child. The coffee shop will give people in the neighborhood a place to gather for a hot drink and some food. A place to share stories with each other and laugh and maybe cry together. A place where neighbors can help each other. We also want to add much needed jobs to the area. Maybe just a few, but that would be a few more in a very needed area.

Susan (“Susie”) Frei Dillhoff grew up just a few houses down at 713 Xenia Avenue and married a guy from Church Street. She was born in 1943 and knew Xenia Avenue in its prime. A thriving small town suburb with everything situated within a 3 block radius: from groceries to hardware supplies, church and school, and a movie theater too. Everything was within walking distance. Back then cars were a convenience, but people used to stroll the avenue rather than clogging highways during rush hour. A slower time existed, a time before the digital world. So it’s fitting that a coffee shop, a place where people come to sit and share stories, is filling a void on a corner so close to the heart of a woman so special.

Susan passed away in March 2020, but even though gone physically, her presence is felt in this project and moving it forward. Our angel on earth, now transformed above, looking down, smiling up.

What’s special about this location is what’s located catty-corner, St. Mary Church – the place where Susan was baptized, married, and was eulogized. The church meant a lot to her through the years. Even after graduation from St. Mary’s Elementary School, she went back to serve as head of the Alumni Association for many years.

During her last 5 years of life, she took leave from the group and stayed home to be with family. She passed away peacefully with family by her side. In order to keep her memory alive, the name Susie’s Café has been chosen. Even though her name is Susan, to those around Xenia Avenue she was Susie.