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Manager Nathan Smith guides Crossnore student Katherine Deyton through the process of preparing the perfect espresso, one of the many skills Deyton will learn in her time working in Miracle Grounds Coffee Café and Creamery, which serves as both a restaurant to the community and a classroom for students.



Originally published: 2012-09-05 15:31:37
Last modified: 2012-09-05 15:31:37

Miracle Grounds brews opportunity for Crossnore students

Matthew Hundley / (matthew.hundley@averyjournal.com)

The name of Miracle Grounds Coffee Café and Creamery is more than a play on words. The name reflects the Crossnore restaurant’s two different roles: as a restaurant to serve the people of Crossnore, but also as a classroom for the students of The Crossnore School.
According to Miracle Grounds Manager Nathan Smith, the services the cafe provides for the town are broad.
“The value to the town is a local restaurant; somewhere that serves upscale coffee, breakfast, lunch and milkshakes,” said Smith. “It is not Starbucks prices, but it is somewhere you can go and hang out, have a meal, see your friends and be with the community. It is sort of a gathering place.”
Although it serves the entire community, Miracle Grounds is part of the historic Crossnore School which maintains the shop so that it may serve a very specific and valuable role: As a classroom.
Miracle Grounds Coffee Café and Creamery is located directly in the heart of Crossnore, across the street from the town meeting hall. Serving breakfast, lunch, coffee, ice cream and milkshakes, Miracle Grounds provides a full restaurant menu of lunch and breakfast fare from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. throughout the summer, and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. during the winter. All sandwiches at Miracle Grounds come at a low price that includes sides and drinks.
According to Smith, Miracle Grounds serves as a sort of staging area for school tours, town functions and community events.
“It draws people to the center of town,” said Smith. “A lot of people come in to visit the school, and they will do their tour, shop in the store, visit a cottage, see the fresco and tour the weaving room, and then they will come down here to have lunch or get some coffee.”
While the benefits that Miracle Grounds brings to Crossnore and its citizens are clear, the value to The Crossnore School and the children it serves may not be as obvious.
Miracle Grounds serves as a classroom for older students, where they learn the ins and outs of the food service industry, establishing essential and valuable skills for their futures.
“It is a restaurant and cafe for everybody, but it gives the kids the opportunity to learn something they could not learn in class,” said Smith. “The most important thing, because it transfers into life skills, is the face-to-face customer service; meeting with someone and getting them what they want.”
Katherine Deyton has worked at Miracle Grounds Coffee Café and Creamery for close to three months as part of her daily class schedule at Crossnore School Inc.
“It is a really great working environment. It teaches you people skills and how to run a cash register. It is a really good learning job,” said Deyton, who puts in 11 to 16 hours per week at her first job. “I have learned how to make a lot of coffee drinks. I learned how to use the steamer and the espresso machine and how to cap a coffee off and grind it. I have learned how to make all the sandwiches we serve here, and milkshakes. I learn how to make whatever is on the menu and whatever is not on the menu that people ask for.”
Smith noted that experience in entrepreneurship, customer service, especially in the food industry, along with familiarity with health code standards and various technical talents are skills that can take students anywhere they want to go, giving them the mobility to pursue their dreams anywhere they may take them.
Miracle Grounds Coffee Café and Creamery is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. during the summer, and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. during the winter at its central Crossnore location. To learn more about Miracle Grounds Coffee Shop, click to http://www.miraclegrounds.org or call (828) 733-2247.