A new business in Uptown Westerville is striving to provide an atmosphere where Otterbein College students can crack a textbook and drink a cup of coffee -- even if they keep late hours.

A new business in Uptown Westerville is striving to provide an atmosphere where Otterbein College students can crack a textbook and drink a cup of coffee -- even if they keep late hours.

Serendipity Ice Cream and Coffee House opened its doors on East College Avenue at the beginning of November, offering a relaxing atmosphere with lots of local arts and craftwork, according to owner Debbie Mitchell. Mitchell said she hopes to provide a place where Otterbein College students can feel welcome.

"One of the students said to me once that Westerville may be a town with a college, but it's not a college town," she said. "The students kept saying that the town closes up at 7, so we wanted to try something where they could come and work, or relax."

Serendipity typically keeps its lights on until 9 p.m. or later; Mitchell said Serendipity stays open as long as a customer is in a chair. The eatery serves a wide range of coffees, hot and cold drinks, ice cream and milkshakes.

"We try to be eco-friendly so all of our packaging is biodegradable," she said. "We're also vegetarian-friendly, and serve hummus, paninis and tofu, and we have a baker that prepares specialty cakes."

Most of its employees are Otterbein students, with a menu and artwork all designed by students as well, Mitchell said.

Patrons may find the unconventional structure Serendipity is housed in appealing, she added.

"We're in an old, historical home that's been converted," she said. "We relaid every brick outside and put some benches in the front, with some tables and chairs in the backyard and a gazebo and a front porch."

In addition to its coffee house fare, Mitchell said Serendipity also offers Wi-Fi connectivity and hosts an open-mike night on Sunday evenings. The eatery occasionally has live music as well, she said.

Serendipity Ice Cream and Coffee House is located at 33 E. College Ave., and is open for business from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday (7 a.m.-10 p.m. in the summer), from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Fridays, 8 a.m.-11 p.m. on Saturdays and 10 a.m.-8 p.m. on Sundays.