Morgan Rodgers has always wanted to open her own bakery, and she has finally done it.

While not exactly a bakery, Madeline’s Coffee House as it is called, is the newest addition to downtown Riverside, right next to Murphy’s Bar and Grill on First Street. The shop serves both coffee drinks and baked goods —all made in house.

Madeline’s Coffee House had its soft opening on Wednesday. Stairs led up to a wooden door, flanked by two large windows on either side. Beneath the red brick of the building face, bright white letters spelled out “Coffee House.” “Madeline’s” still needs to be added.

While not the first venture in Riverside for Rodgers, who is originally from Marengo, Madeline’s is one of her more personal projects. The coffeehouse is named after her late grandmother, who loved to bake and care for her family. Rodgers has fond memories of baking and spending time with her grandmother.

“I get a little teary-eyed talking about it,” she said.

Rodgers is not in this alone. She is partnering with John and Joan Sojka, who own the building and have done much of the decorating.

Upon entering, customers are greeted by a bright pink chair. On it sits a small round tin, decorated with yellow and red roses. 

“Yellow roses were (my mother’s) favorite flower,” said John Sojka, owner of the building that houses Madeline’s Coffee House. 

Sojka notes that his mother passed away from cancer in January 2018. 

“Everyone knows someone who has been touched by cancer,” he said.

Customers are invited to drop money in the tin, which will then be matched by Sojka and his wife, Joan, to a level that has yet to be determined. All funds collected will then be donated to cancer research institutions of the couple’s choosing.

Couches, wooden tables and chairs dot the shop, alongside various pieces of décor, carefully and intentionally placed by Sojka and his wife. 

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