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The only coffee shop for miles with a pean feel, even if most patrons have trouble
threatening warning that they ID., Rendez conjugatingtheir Spanish verbs.
Vous Caf6 on South University Avenue adds A haven for the both the very hip - skin-
hookah to the usual caffeinated lineup. Just ny jeans, scarves, dyed hair and glasses with
a block away from language-intensive Resi- thick plastic rims abound - as well as down-
dential College in East Quad and acting as an right hippies, the retro atmosphere and intel-
impromptu office for more than one language lectual conversation won't disappoint, even if
tutor, Rendez Vous, open late, emits a Euro- the falafels do.
Ed Renollet, owner of Caf6 Ambrosia, than they do at Starbucks.
acknowledges the clientele as "a pretty eclec- If Ambrosia doesn't attract ordinary West
tic crowd," if not a pretty eccentric one. Quad residents, it might be because the cafe
He tries to cultivate a reputation as the is a little out of the ordinary. Renollet himself
"grad student caf," he says, and he's met was a non-traditional student, taking classes
considerable success. The people who sit in at the University in 2001, the year after he got
Ambrosia look older than the typical Amer's to Ann Arbor. The year after that, he started
crowd, unless they look younger - some local the coffee shop. And this week, he says he's
high school students have taken to sitting out opening up seating in the basement of the
front, and it seems that people sport longer shop, which he renovated himself with the
hair and carry around more esoteric novels help his father.
So you're not into gourmet coffee, you're Starbucks, Expresso Royale attracts a crowd
not alternative enough for one of the inde- that's not generic, but that's not exactly
pendent coffee shops and you don't really rebellious either. So if your professor holds
want a mozzarella salad with your latte his office hours at Expresso Royale instead
- you just might be an Espresso Royale cus- of Ambrosia, Amer's or Rendez Vous, it might
tomer. be a sign that you should turn that paper in
Without being quite as straight-laced as on time and come to class sober.
So it's not Zingerman's. But with fewer proved to be without much merit, and today
noisy children, more available seating, shorter Amer's ratty, comfortable feel is a far cry from
lines and an on-campus location, it's a viable the finicky Zingerman's service and its bur-
alternative, even if the cappuccinos aren't geoning food empire.
quite the same. With fairly reliable wireless internet,
In 1993, Zingerman's sued Amer's for rip- Amer's is a hub for the studious, and its
ping off its style. At the time, the Daily ran unkempt backroom and lower level suggest
the headline, "Zingerman's takes its beef with that the maintenance staff is almost as laid
Amer's to federal district court." The claims back as the clientele.
No one thinks Starbucks is just a coffee shop.
You can get coffee anywhere; in Ann Arbor, you
can get good coffee most anywhere. Like nearly
every other city in America, Starbucks has tight-
ened its stranglehold on cafe culture in the city.
Despite their liberal leanings and organ-
ic tendencies, not as many Ann Arborites
have boycotted the megachain, as you might
expect. of course, it's not exactly a haven for
East Quad professors, either.
LSA professors, maybe. You're more likely
to see people here reading Machiavelli than
Marx. A retreat for quick meetings and chem-
istry homework, the immaculate furniture
gives Starbucks that refreshingly not-coun-
terculture feel you can find in only a few shops
in Ann Arbor. Just remember to tip: Start-
ing Starbucks employees get $7.20 per hour,
meaning they make only 5 cents more than
starting employees at Amer's, where the seats
are held together with duct tape.