After over a year of Zoom classes, Curt’s Cafe celebrates educators


Photo Courtesy of Curt’s Cafe

Staff at local nonprofit restaurant Curt’s Cafe work to package Teacher Appreciation orders, which are available to educators through the end of the school year.

Haley Handelman, Reporter

To honor educators’ perseverance and dedication to students throughout the pandemic, local nonprofit restaurant Curt’s Cafe is hosting a Teacher Appreciation promotion through the end of the school year.

“I already have tremendous respect for teachers,” said Karen Smith, the vice president of student development and operations at the shop. “But to see how they’ve had to connect with students during a pandemic… I feel like, besides doctors, it had to be one of the hardest careers to have this past year. One thing we can do at Curt’s Cafe (is) show appreciation.” 

Curt’s Cafe is a local nonprofit restaurant that employs young adults who have dealt with a variety of challenging circumstances, including houselessness or food insecurity, the website says. Additionally, the restaurant has promoted Teacher Appreciation annually.

However, this year is different, Smith said. 

For one, the menus have shifted. Normally, the cafe puts out menus for customers to choose from to give to teachers. But now, shoppers can order individualized specialty sweet boxes and luncheons — a change made both to accommodate COVID-19 safety measures and to honor teacher’s hard efforts through personal catering. 

The treat boxes are individually designed based on customer choices and range from savory vegetarian Caprese sandwiches of fresh mozzarella, tomato and spinach, to bags filled with chocolate chip cookies and triple-decker bars. 

Smith said Curt’s Cafe received a “huge response” from families, parents and Parent-Teacher Association committees after they advertised the promotion on Facebook. Some people placed orders for individual teachers, while others wanted to serve entire school staffs.

Arica Barton, a member of the Washington Elementary School’s Teacher Appreciation committee, said she worked with Curt’s Cafe to provide a teacher appreciation luncheon last week. Barton said the committee decided to not restrict its budget for the event in order to demonstrate maximum support for educators. 

The luncheon, which featured a variety of sandwiches and cookies, was open to all Washington Elementary School staff members, including teachers, custodians and before and aftercare workers, she said.  

Washington School Principal Kate Ellison said the Teacher Appreciation committee does a great job taking care of the staff, and the luncheon last week was definitely appreciated.

Barton said the ordering process was simple and efficient. She emailed Curt’s Cafe’s catering manager, specifying her order and the number of people she wanted to serve, and the delivery was prompt and professional, she said. 

She added that the luncheon was well-deserved, as Washington School faculty have gone above and beyond during the “hardest year ever for most educators” to maintain student engagement. She said their care has positively impacted her own children’s learning. 

“We’ve always wanted to use a neighborhood restaurant,” Barton said. “(Curt’s Cafe has) such a good message about giving people second chances — and the food’s delicious.”

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @haleyhandelman 

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