Like many area coffee roasters and cafes, Tierra Coffee Roasters has a weekly open mic night, its own freshly roasted beans, a customer base of caffeine-addicted students and professionals, and a little bit of sassy counter attitude.
But this Thursday (Nov. 22), the folks at 1038 Madison Ave. in Albany will be doing something that most of us will not. From 9 AM to 2 PM, approximately half of the staff of the eatery will show up as volunteers to serve free food and coffee. When owner Gunther Fishgold suggested the idea to manager Ron Grieco, he was sure Fishgold was joking. “I’m really excited to not ring anyone up,” Grieco said. “It’s really going to be a great atmosphere.”
The staff, he said, was equally excited. “Pretty much anyone that’s not going out of town signed up to come in. It’s going to be fun because we want to be there not because we have to,” he added.
Tierra will serve traditional Thanksgiving fare like turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, stuffing, and salad. Grieco said that some of the staff will be bringing in food as well. “One of our vegetarians is bringing a Tofurkey, and other employees are bringing pies,” he said. Some of the cafe’s customers have even offered to donate food, he added. Grieco expects to see some regular customers, but also noted that there is a large homeless population that hangs around the neighboring laundromat. “We’ve told them about what we’re doing. We’ve also notified some homeless action committees,” he said.
This is the first time that Tierra is attempting this event, and Grieco said he is not completely sure what to expect. “We are all just really excited to be on board. This makes us really proud.”