Owner of Two Cats Café, Bassam Helwani, has added a few things since it opened a year and a half ago. Alcohol, live music and a chef are just a few of Helwani's new additions. Andrew Smith, DN File
Two Cats adds alcohol, live music, new chef
“Summon some courage and try the food, try the drinks and see what Two Cats is all about. Even if you don’t like it, I’ll buy your meal,” said Two Cats Café owner Bassam Helwani.
While Two Cats opened a year and a half ago, Helwani has been adding some new updates.
“Being a non-chain restaurant, it's really hard to penetrate the students and community because they don’t know what Two Cats is all about,” Helwani said. “My challenge is to bring customers in the first time. I’m thinking with all these events and specials people will try the place.”
Helwani, who has lived in various parts of the Middle East, created Two Cats Café to offer the Muncie community diverse food options.
“If the students don’t go ‘round the world and try different food, why not bring the food to them?” Helwani said.
Two Cats Café has tried various updates in its year and a half, including an attempt to add a cat café. However, Helwani said Muncie has regulations that would prevent him from opening it.
The updates that have been started have increased the success of the café. In fact, Helwani said sales have recently doubled.
Beer and Wine
Two Cats Café added beer and wine to the menu this summer.
“We want selective beer,” Helwani said. “We are bringing beer brands not available anywhere else. One of our really good sellers is available nowhere else in Muncie.”
The idea to offer beer and wine was started by Ball State alumna Rachael Walker. Walker, who graduated in 2016 with a degree in graphic design, started at the café redesigning the menus.
“Bassam brought me on board and I spearheaded [the beer and wine menu],” Walker said. “Now, with the combination of hookah and beer, people are coming here more at night,” Walker said.
This Halloween, Two Cats Café will offer a special holiday-themed cocktail and costume contest.
From belly dancers to open mic nights, Helwani has started hosting a variety of events at the café.
Helwani said the café partnered with Ball State Belly Dance Club to provide entertainment for customers.
Upcoming events for the café include:
- My Story: Community members, students and faculty can come and share their story on an open mic on Nov. 8.
- Belly Dancers: The club will be back at the Café from 6-9 p.m. on Nov. 3.
The café has hired Sarah Densmore, an Ivy Tech graduate, to be the new chef.
“She is bringing all kinds of specials,” Helwani said. “Today, for example, we have eggplant parmesan.”
In addition to the daily specials, Densmore has added more vegan and vegetarian options.
Densmore said all of the items she adds meet Helwani’s goal for the café, such as offering dishes that range from Indian to Greek to Spanish.
“I like the atmosphere and how welcoming it is here,” said Sundeep Rayat, associate professor of chemistry. “I love the options here as a vegetarian.”
“We have been having lots of local acoustic bands performing here,” Helwani said. “I encourage local artists or students who want to perform here, feel welcome to come.”
Walker said they eventually hope to have weekly performances.
“We added the patio seating here in the summer,” Helwani said. “I put the tent up myself.”
The tent is located in front of the café and offers customers a chance to enjoy warmer weather.
“I’ve used the outdoor area,” said Patti Lang, interim associate dean of the Honors College. “It feels good to just sit outside in the summer and enjoy a coffee.”