Most important to Hiltbrand, though, is the public meeting room with a live stage that can be used for student art shows, seminars, dances, comedy, musical shows, or just hanging out.
"Kids need a place to create and express themselves in a way that isn't football and what-your-SAT-scores-are," said the 59-year-old Berwyn artist and mother of four, the youngest of whom is in college.
"I think I needed a space like this when I was growing up, and I do wish it [had been] there for my children."
In the past, Hiltbrand has worked on philanthropic causes involving suicide prevention, substance abuse and foster children, but New Leaf is her first major undertaking.
She bought the building for $895,000 in January and borrowed against her investments to fund renovations. She established a nonprofit. Someday she may make money, she said, but that is less important than the mission.
The Main Line hasn't had an accessible, and acceptable, gathering spot for teens since the storied Main Point coffeehouse in Bryn Mawr shut down in 1981. Its successor, the Point, a music venue on Lancaster Avenue that opened in 1998, lost its lease in 2005 and closed.
Erika Bar-David, a Wynnewood native who just finished her freshman year at Temple University, said young people typically hang out in the Wynnewood Shopping Center, Suburban Square, Rosemont Square, or Center City.
"The mall tends to get boring, in my personal opinion, after just a couple of hours," Bar-David said. A music major, she wants to help stage performances at the New Leaf and organize programming.
Hunter Cross, a junior at West Chester State University, sees the New Leaf as "a great opportunity to go out at night and see a show."
The performers are likely to be other young people hard up for places to showcase their talent.
Though the cafe still has to receive its health certificate to fully open, it already is hosting local music groups.
Runaway Youth, a folk-rock alternative band, performed July 12, followed two nights later by Ellie Perez, a singer-songwriter from Wayne.
One key to a safe place is the absence of alcohol, said Hiltbrand, whose husband is Inquirer columnist David Hiltbrand. She sees a big part of the cafe's mission as raising awareness among teens and parents about social ills - depression, substance abuse, eating disorders.
To that end, she has made meeting space available to parent support groups and organizations that raise money for social causes.
Mary Brown, a Latin teacher at Valley Forge Academy, tried for years to find a suitable spot for a teen center. She thought she had landed one in the former Bryn Mawr Hardware store, only to see it sold as commercial space.
When Brown heard Hiltbrand had bought the old Smith & Hawken store, she ran over to the cafe and introduced herself.
Since then, she has offered to help organize programs. One is set for Sept. 16 on exercises to help minimize concussions, she said.
Forced over the years to beg space for her fund-raising events from the Bryn Mawr Film Institute, the Main Line Art Center, Haverford College, and two local high schools, Brown knows she can reserve a date at the New Leaf when needed. For her, it's a dream come true.
Mary Hiltbrand, she said, "is the angel who has gotten this done."
Contact Bonnie L. Cook at 610-313-8232 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read her "MontCo Memo" blog on philly.com.