Don't be bummed by the "2-5 years experience". They will still consider you.
The Mid-west has a lot of opportunities. Plus, you probably have better contacts in the region. I know moving from Arizona to Montreal, the biggest hurdle to my first job was having no network or alumni to tap.
As for building connections working at a cafe...maybe. I think that's going to be tough though. Just going to design get-togethers is going to be better. Also, reach out for some pointers. If there is an industry that interests you, search on linkedin for some designers in the industry or who have worked previously in the industry and send them some questions. If people see you are passionate, you are going to get interviews and opportunities.
Lastly, keep working on the portfolio. If I were in your shoes today, I would try to do some outlandish design to get my work on some blogs. Recent grads are so lucky in that you have access to CAD, rendering and illustration tools at low monthly rates. Take advantage of it! Plus, there are a million design and industry blogs that are starved for content.
"The key to success in this business is to find a boss who doesn't care." - Mike Rowe