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A Piece of My Mind
March 24/31, 2004

Diner on Commercial Street

Author Affiliations

A Piece of My Mind Section Editor: Roxanne K. Young, Associate Editor.

JAMA. 2004;291(12):1424. doi:10.1001/jama.291.12.1424

I make my way down three chilly blocks to an old diner on Commercial Street. I am meeting a new friend for lunch. I've never been here before: this is not my part of town. And so I arrive early, to sit in an old wooden booth and learn what I can about the place.

They call it Katie's Kitchen. One hundred years ago, it was a bar. The barstools remain, but through community donations, it's now a respectable restaurant. The hostess, cashier, and waiters are residents of a nearby hotel for the transient and unemployed and work here to gain dignity and job skills. Both the hotel and restaurant are run by Sister L, a nun with a heart and a great deal of business sense.