A Newbie's Guide to the Cafe
Serving students in previous years, the Cafe was a space for them to grab a snack and hang out during the school day.
Because of the pandemic, the Cafe had to be shut down and converted into classroom space for the 2020-2021 school year. Now that the Cafe has reopened and returned to its original state, students and faculty alike are beyond excited: History teacher Ian Guthrie refers to it as the “Upper Heath Cornerstone of Community,” where he is often “lucky enough to chat with Peter Ziou in the coffee line!” In addition to being a hub for interactions among Hopkins people, the Cafe also strives to serve!
The Razor presents this “Newbie’s Guide” to help new students navigate their way into the Cafe. Over 60 Hopkins students stepped in to give their opinions, feedback, and advice in order to help their peers have the best experience possible.
A communal space for many, the Cafe has a constant influx of students. Benjamin Simon ’24 considers the Cafe a “fun and positive break from work” and recalls “going to the Cafe with friends during study halls in J School.” Johnny Guo ’26 states it is the “best place on Hopkins campus” as he “always sees [his] other friends there.” Sarvin Bhagwagar ’24 emphasizes the sense of community created in the space: “The value of the Cafe shouldn’t be underestimated,” he states, “It’s a good place for kids to go and get a snack if they need cheering up.” Faculty and staff also find the Cafe a useful place for meeting up with co-workers. Drama teacher Michael Calderone says, “It is the perfect place to catch up with fellow faculty members who I don’t see very often” and that it is “also where big plans can come out of casual conversations.”
Data collected from a school-wide poll showed that about 64% of students surveyed visit the Cafe once or more every week and less than 6% had never been.
According to students, the best time to make a trip to UpperHeath is not during G and H blocks, the athletic free periods for Middle and Upper School students. Most students recommend going in the earlier hours of the day to avoid the rush later in the day. Esme Olshan-Cantin ’23’s ideal time is at “7:45-50, before school starts and the line gets long.” Avani DeLuna ’26 has found that “during a study hall or during a free period if it is open” is the most convenient for her.
So now, some friendly student guidance to the spirited place: What is the best thing to get at the Cafe? The majority of Hopkins students seem to enjoy the muffins and churros baked and sold at the Cafe. Rosie Lu ’25 testifies, “I once had a chocolate muffin, and it was the best thing I have ever tasted.” Shriya Vaid ’26 comments on the coveted churros that make an appearance from time to time: “I love the churros but they’re never there,’’ so as a temporary substitute, “I also like the apple cider donuts.” Other student favorites include Arizona Iced Tea, breakfast sandwiches, Hot Tamales, chips, Welch’s Fruit Snacks, milkshakes, coffee cakes, and donuts.
But the sweetness does not stop at the delicious treats offered. When asked to comment about any additional things they liked about the Cafe, numerous students praised the kind staff. Chris Ruano’ 22 shared that “Lissa and [he] chop it up on the regular; the conversation is always pleasant and she gives me spoons for my yogurt.” The kind and welcoming staff have already made their impressions on newer students like Laila River Good ’27 who states, “I just know [Lissa], the woman that works there, is really nice.” Olshan-Cantin gives a “Huge shoutout to all the staff there- they always rock and have so much patience for giving change and waiting for kids rummaging through their bags for quarters!”