Since the tender age of 12, University alum Jimmy “J-Star” Curtiss has taken his coffee black, thank you very much.
But, the Plymouth native wasn’t fully satisfied by his local Starbucks, which he deemed “conservative”. Seeking a departure from franchise-brewed coffee and while on break from his then-summer job at Betsey Barbour House five years ago, Curtiss stumbled into Café Ambrosia down the street.
“(I thought) yeah, right, this place will last two weeks,” Curtiss said.
Five years later, he remains a constant fixture there.
Shortly after his first foray into Ambrosia, the manager hired Curtiss, who has worked at the café ever since.
“I’ve had 31 jobs, so it’s telling that I’ve been here for five years,” Curtiss said.
Between his daily responsibilities of stocking items and making coffee, Curtiss finds time to banter with the customers, which he describes as “a plurality of grad students, some professors, a lot of townies, and a few die-hard undergrads — indie kids.”
Many of the customers Curtiss serves are regulars who have favorite items at the café. Curtiss said while products with chai and espresso are popular, one of the biggest draws is the cookies.
“People flip out for the vegan chocolate chip cookies,” Curtiss said.
One of Curtiss’ favorite memories at the café occurred last year during the Graduate Employee Organization strike.
“There was a huge rally outside the door,” Curtiss said. “GEO used the basement as their headquarters.”
Despite his fond recollections, Curtiss doesn’t anticipate working at Café Ambrosia for much longer.
“I’m not gonna lie, I’m getting older now. (I’ll work here) probably for a couple more years,” said Curtiss.
Though his future remains uncertain, Curtiss admits that he has no idea what he’ll end up doing five or 10 years down the road.
“Foresight and vision have never been my thing,” said Curtiss. “One day at a time, man.”