An Illini love story, Espresso Royale edition ...
"I used to go there with my college boyfriend on Sunday nights. We would sit in the same corner in the lower level; it was our quiet little spot. He asked me to be his girlfriend there," recalls self-employed central New York video editor Rachel Caulfield, who from 2012-16 held a number of behind-the-scenes jobs at ESPN.
"It was always a place where we felt at home and at peace. I’m not sure why; it was just a normal coffee shop.
"I remember the colorful, hand-painted tables, the students huddled over black laptops, and of course the smell of coffee.
“On late nights walking home alone from the bars on Green Street, I would always use it as a landmark. I would see the neon 'Cafe' sign outside and feel a little more at ease knowing I was close to the safety of my dorm.
"Two years ago, that same college boyfriend — now my husband — and I went back to visit Champaign. We made a pit stop at our old place. We just walked in and looked at it, and walked out.”