The Tower Fountain is a tiny little eatery just off the lobby of the Lincoln Tower on Berry Street.
Its been there for decades, selling sandwiches, soups, drinks from its ancient soda fountain, but theres no sign in the bank lobby so its easy to miss.
But for years lawyers and judges and others have been dropping in. The place was run by one man for 37 years, and in 1985 sisters Vicki Statler and Teresa Pflueger and their brother Danny Roach took over the place with their mother.
Some famous folks have shown up there. Mariel Hemingway and David Carradine dropped by when they were shooting a movie in the bank tower. They have photos of them.
And there are ordinary people.
We get people in here going to court, Statler said. Theyll give you their life history, what theyre going to court for, whether they want to hear it or not.
One man who had been shot by police and was going to court showed off his wounds. They didnt really want to see that, Statler said.
You arent allowed to carry cellphones into the Courthouse, so people will leave their phones at the Tower Fountain while theyre in court. Hey, it brings people in, and when they come to pick up their phones, maybe theyll buy something, Statler says.
One guy left his phone and never came back, Statler said. I dont think he had a very good day.
But not everyone has dropped in at the fountain.
The other day the two sisters were talking to Superior Court Judge Stanley Levine. They are devout Catholics, and they mentioned that the bishop, Kevin Rhoades, had never had lunch there.
That isnt unusual. John DArcy was bishop for 25 years and he never ate there, either.
But Levine, who is Jewish, vowed hed get the bishop in there for lunch. He approached Jerry Henry, whose father ran Catholic Charities for years.
He wasnt the first I asked, Levine said. I asked some prominent Catholics and they couldnt pull it off. I had to ask Jerry.
But what do you know, one day last week, who appeared but the bishop, ready to have lunch with Henry and Levine at the Tower Fountain.
It was a pleasant lunch, what I saw of it. Henry told a joke. Levine told a funny story about his family. The bishop, who said he normally just goes home for lunch and has some cereal, ordered a sandwich named after someone, and the sisters prepared the meal. I left before they ate.
I loved it, Pflueger said. All she did was serve him, but it meant a lot to her.
It was neat, even though we didnt get to talk. They were, after all, busy feeding other customers.
So it was sort of Levines Christmas present to the sisters, through Henry, and the bishops gift to them.