The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Small Business Spotlight: The Raven 96 proves breakfast is most important meal of day

Photo by Emma Sylvester for The Lafayette
The Raven 96 was opened out of Raven Gabriel’s love for the restaurant industry.

Every day at 6 a.m., Raven Gabriel opens the doors to her restaurant. Though opening isn’t until 11 a.m., she needs time to prepare with the cooks, brew coffee for the staff and set up for another day of fulfilling her lifelong dream as a restaurant owner. 

Gabriel is the owner of The Raven 96, a brunch spot that has been in the works since her first restaurant job at 16. The restaurant is named after Gabriel, whose grandmother said her dark hair and deep brown eyes reminded her of a raven. 

The Raven 96, which opened on July 22 at the Silk Mill, serves breakfast and lunch with specialty foods such as butter beer pancakes, cheesecake french toast and pumpkin-themed food items for the changing seasons — all made from scratch. Though the restaurant is not named after the famous Edgar Allen Poe poem “The Raven,” do not fear, the menu includes a dish called “Poe’s Pancakes,” which are dark chocolate pancakes with blueberry compote and whipped cream.

With humble beginnings working at a pizza restaurant, Buffalo Wild Wings and Dairy Queen, Gabriel eventually worked her way up the chain to front-of-house manager at Miller’s Ale House. After graduating from Kutztown University, Gabriel spent the following years working office jobs, but something felt missing in her career. She craved the feeling of working in a dynamic and exciting environment.

“With being in a restaurant, it’s something different every day,” she said. “You never know what to expect.”

By opening The Raven 96, Gabriel has fulfilled her dream job at only 27 —  nevermore will she sit at a desk. 

Now, on a typical day, Gabriel is almost never stationary. She is the one in charge of the spatula most of the time, whipping up the restaurant’s signature pancakes and waffles. When she’s not in the kitchen, she’s serving, hosting, washing dishes and keeping the whole establishment in one piece. 

“I feel like I should just live here at this point,” she joked. “I wear every type of hat when I’m here.”

However, Gabriel is not on this journey alone — it’s a family effort.

“If they weren’t going to do this with me, it wouldn’t be possible,” she said. 

Her father washes the dishes, her sister is a server and her mother hosts on the weekends, along with decorating the space. Gabriel created a greenery wall adorned with gold butterflies, but then handed over responsibility to her mother and sister to give the place extra flair. Part of their vision included a bright blue truck filled with vases of colorful flowers, which is one of the first things that customers see when they walk in.

Since opening, The Raven 96 has surpassed all of Gabriel’s expectations. Every day is an accomplishment when people come in to eat. She takes pride in being part of the magic of a smooth-running establishment and having customers leave with smiles on their faces.

Gabriel encourages students to stop by The Raven 96, take a seat and do homework over warm caramel apple pancakes and a cup of coffee.

“I see the restaurant filled and I hear everybody talking so loud in here,” she said. “I’m like, ‘Wow I actually did it.’”

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About the Contributors
Bernadette Russo
Bernadette Russo, Culture Editor
Likes trees and hates writing bios.
Emma Sylvester
Emma Sylvester, Photo Editor

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