Grab a $1 coffee or treat as reimagined Momentum Café opens

More than a year after closing because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Momentum Café in Grand Haven has reopened with more space, a larger menu, expanded training for member volunteers, and a new manager.

Launched in March 2017, the Momentum Café shared space with Just Goods Gifts until the fair-trade store moved to 1 N. Harbor Drive last fall. 

The larger, reimagined café, at 714 Columbus Ave., still includes its trademark $1 beverages, baked goods, and snacks, as well as soda made at the café in a variety of flavors, along with French press coffee.

Bringing in new faces

Momentum Center Chief Operations Officer Jenna Vipond says the grand reopening has brought in new faces.
“Customers have been enjoying our outdoor picnic tables, using the computers that are available, and sitting at our new bar area that faces outside,” Vipond says. 
The menu features desserts, pastries, doughnuts, and coffee from Grand Finale Desserts and Pastries, Leppinks Food Centers, and Aldea Coffee, which provide the food at cost or with discounts.

The reimagined café sells art handmade by Momentum Center members as well as
from microenterprises in the Tri-Cities.

Well-known manager 

Joe Carmolli is the café’s new manager. A graduate of the University of Vermont and the
Culinary School at Kendall College in Evanston, Illinois, Carmolli moved to Grand Haven in 1998 as a catering chef. He has been a culinary educator since 2001 at Careerline Tech Center, Grand Haven, as well as at Secchia Institute for Culinary Education at Grand Rapids Community College.

Carmolli is well-known among area residents for acting in and directing theater projects locally as well as in Grand Rapids, often with his wife, Natalie. The couple has two grown children.

“I have always enjoyed connecting with students, and working with the members at Momentum Café feels like home,” Cramolli says. “It is an atmosphere of great compassion and camaraderie that I’m so pleased to be a part of.”

Training, providing skills

Carmolli is currently training 13 Momentum Center members who will volunteer at the café. Instruction includes cleaning and sanitation of bathrooms and public spaces, dishwashing, handwashing, customer service, greeting and welcoming customers, and everything else that goes into providing a good café experience. 

The goal is to provide members with skills they can use elsewhere, and plans are eventually to provide accredited safety training and certification for safely serving food and beverages.

As part of the Momentum Center for Social Engagement, the Momentum Café is another way to end stigma, provide training for, and include people throughout the community who have mental illnesses, disabilities, or addictions.

Momentum Café hours are 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays. The café is closed Sundays.


Read more articles by Shandra Martinez.