String Theory students serving up breakfast at Café Vine

They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day and a group of local students is helping people start off on the right foot.

Café Vine, a student-run coffee shop at 1600 Vine St., is employing students from Performing Arts: A String Theory Charter School to serve up hot coffee, espresso and croissants from a new hub that recently opened to the public.

Open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., the café is modeled after French-style patisseries and has been recently redesigned to include a welcoming vestibule and outdoor seating for take-out service. 

“We are thrilled with the response we are getting from the public,” said Jason Corosanite, co-founder and Chief Innovation Officer of String Theory Schools. “Not only is the food delicious – as good as the best French patisseries – the enthusiasm and interest of the students makes it an excellent learning experience. Our guests seem to appreciate that this is a student-run operation.”

Café Vine is located on Philadelphia Performing Arts’ main campus on Vine Street, serving grades 6-12. Many of the students begin attending Philadelphia Performing Arts schools at its South Philly locations. Its East Campus at 2407 S. Broad St. serves kindergarten and first grade. The West Campus at 2600 S. Broad St. serves students grades 2 through 5.

Corosanite created the program himself and said the mission is to instill a passion for entrepreneurship at the school. Café Vine originated several years ago as an elective course and operated solely for the school community. But due to demand by students to participate in the program, Café Vine decided to expand to the public. In partnership with Philadelphia Youth Network, high school students J’Lynn Dominguez, Jacob Fanelli, Dylohn Graves, Jenna Murray and Charles Joseph Zulli now have summer jobs.

“What sets it apart is that our students perform every aspect of running the cafe, from importing and roasting coffee, making all of the products in-house, and managing the business and marketing side of the cafe,” Corosanite said. “It’s an immersive experience that will prepare them for potential culinary/business careers.”

The program added a Pastry and Baking Program with new state-of-the-art equipment from the well-known European company, Polin. It is overseen by chef/teacher Sofiane Bellal, who was born and raised in Africa and worked in France before coming to Philadelphia. Students in the program also have the advantage of using the most state-of-the-art equipment including the environmentally friendly Bellwether coffee-roaster that is completely emission-less.

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