- 8 Punches on a Punch Card, Each worth $5
In many ways, Curt's Café is very traditional. Inside both Evanston locations, you'll find freshly brewed coffees; housemade pastries, soups, and sandwiches; and even free WiFi. But Curt's mission extends well beyond just feeding hungry customers or giving them a cozy space to work and socialize.
That's because the café doubles as a nonprofit organization that provides job training and mentorship for local at-risk youth. Indeed, these young people—all of whom are aged 15–22 mostly from the Evanston area—are the proverbial coal that powers the café's day-to-day operations. They cook, they clean, and they assist customers, but more importantly, they gain vital job and life experience to help them now and in the future. Curt's hopes to break a cycle of incarceration, unemployment, and homelessness for them and the rest of the community.
Typically, Curt's enrolls four or five students at a time. In addition to their onsite training, the students receive a stipend and collaborate with social workers to further their development. But they're also the driving force behind the café's creative menu, which employs local, seasonal ingredients and frequently debuts inventive specials. It all falls in line with the vision of founder Susan Trieschmann, who opened Curt's in 2012 with the mantra "Dine with purpose."