Inside the Story: Divorcee Cafe provides free help for people going through divorce


(KUTV) It's a cafe with a twist.

It caters to those going through one of the most painful times of their lives.

The Divorcee Cafe was started by Elif Ekin, who went through a divorce herself.

"I was a stay-at-home mom and I had no family in Utah," said Ekin. "I had no job, no extra money and I was alone."

She didn't know where to turn for help.

"It would have saved me $10,000 if I had had a financial analyst look at my decree because of one word -- but I didn't know that," Ekin said.

That's why once a month the 7th & Seventh Street Studio in Salt Lake City transforms into the Divorcee Cafe, a place where those going through a divorce can find healing through a variety of services -- all for free.

"They could have close to $700, $800 worth of services for free," Ekin said of people who come to the cafe. The services could include legal and financial advice, life coaching, or acupuncture and message therapy.

"When you go through separation and divorce, it can be really lonely and sometimes you don't really know where to start," said one woman who came to the cafe for the first time.

Those who provide services volunteer their time at the Divorcee Cafe, including a hypnotist and Tarot card reader.

"I come down and I help with grief therapy, confidence building, and stress relief," said Tony Thaimakis, a professional hypnotist.

Along with the counseling and the therapy, comes the comfort food. Baklava, Turkish coffee, and even soup is often served.

"We are here to help," Thaimakis said. "It's not a sacrifice. It's enjoyable to help people."

Some months are busier than others.

But for Ekin, who has written a book about her experience, it's not about how many show up, but how many individuals can find the strength to move forward.

"People leave here and they go, 'I feel lighter now. I feel like I have people I can turn to,'" Ekin said.

The Divorcee Cafe is located at 645 E. 700 South in Salt Lake City. It's open for anyone to come in on the first Wednesday of every month.

For more information, you can visit the Divorcee Cafe website.