When I first approached this coffeehouse/tea room/wine bar at Shadow Lake in Papillion I noticed that it’s adjacent to a LensCrafters. I made a note to myself that if nothing else interesting came up, I could start my review with a funny story about drinking a bunch of wine and then stumbling next door to get my eyes checked. This was going to be my go-to story if Morning, Noon, & Night turned out to be dull.

It turns out I don’t need the story after all. In fact, I have so much to tell you about this place that I’m not entirely sure where I should begin.

Let’s start with the basic stuff first. Morning, Noon, & Night was created by Diana Connolly. “We just needed a good wine shop around here,” she says. She was also frustrated by what some of her fellow residents considered “good” coffee. “If you burn your coffee beans because you’re using poor quality beans, you’re going to have to add a bunch of syrup and flavoring to make it pass for good,” she says, referencing no massive international coffee giant in particular.

Morning, Noon, & Night serves a huge variety of wines, cocktails, teas and coffees. They also offer pastries from Kristen’s Cookies in Omaha. The concept of the name of the shop comes from the idea that you drink coffee in the morning, tea in the afternoon, and wine at night. All three are served throughout the day, so don’t feel as though you’ll be judged if you order wine in the afternoon or tea in the evening.

Diana’s passion for wine is evident not only in the impressive selection her store offers, but as I was leaving she was just sitting down with a wine distributor to try a few new wines and what I saw was a woman who really, really loves wine. She took her small sip, closed her eyes, and seemed to enjoy the brief escape that a great glass of wine can bring.

If you’re wondering what kind of escape a woman who spends all day surrounded by wine, tea and coffee might need, there’s much more to the story. Diana’s a breast cancer survivor who was in treatment recently enough that she still wears a wig. So when you see Diana pausing to sip a glass of wine and enjoy the intricacies of the flavors, you’re seeing a woman who managed to battle breast cancer while also keeping her business afloat during tough economic times.

An interesting culture has been spurned by Morning, Noon, & Night. What was meant to be a simple wine, coffee, and tea place evolved into a place where things have a tendency to get creative. “I didn’t see that coming,” says Diana when asked if she expected her shop to bring people together like it does. She tells stories of customers who are dedicated to attending the weekly Wednesday night music jam sessions. Shortly after her cancer diagnosis, a customer asked for all the used wine corks and later presented her with a beautiful art piece comprised of those corks. That piece is still hanging up in the sitting area.

Customers rallied together to have a Head Shaving Party when Diana’s hair began falling out. Thirteen heads were shaved at the party, and they also raised around $3,000 for a breast cancer charity.

Wine tastings, coffee cuppings, and tea tastings are all par for the course for Morning, Noon, & Night. They offer a Wine Tasting 101 class every other month to help out those of us who are a little more remedial in our wine knowledge. So if you’ve never liked wine, there’s a good chance you just haven’t found a wine you like. If you don’t care for tea, it’s probably because you haven’t tasted the Tea Forte offered here. If you don’t like coffee…I don’t know how to identify with you because we’re just too different.

One of Diana’s favorite memories so far of Morning, Noon, & Night is when a frazzled woman walked through the front door. She was on her cell phone doing business, carrying paperwork and generally looking as though she was going a million miles a minute. She then hung up the phone, closed her eyes, and sighed a happy sigh because she was in a place where she could pause.

“People don’t come here for the things they have to buy,” points out Diana. “They come here because they want to come here.” It is indeed a great place to take a breath and pause. It’s easy to find too; just look for the LensCrafters.

Morning, Noon & Night, 7474 Towne Center Parkway in Shadow Lake Towne Center. Hours: Monday-Saturday: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday:  noon to 6 p.m. (402) 933-3836, www.morningnoonandnight.net.

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