Here’s a timely look back at AJ’s Café in Ferndale, Michigan, birthplace of Detroit Bold coffee. This is where it all began and we take those days where we learned the culture of community wherever we go.

Here is an excerpt of the story written about us in our early years. Thank you to Nicole Rupersburg for writing this article! Read the full version here: Eat It Detroit-AJ’s Café 2007-2012 Ferndale, Michigan

AJ’s is a coffee house in the bohemian ’90s sense, when coffee houses were community hubs where people gathered specifically to interact with each other (and not sit solo at small tables in highly-polished environments, squinting at their Mac Books with ear buds in). The furniture is a mismatched collection of found, salvaged and donated items, all of it contributing to the place’s overall eclectic décor. Works from local artists adorn the walls; one wall is a massive chalkboard that customers can decorate at will; there is a sign in a corner by the window that boldly proclaims “YOU ARE LOVED.”

Now that may sound hokey to you. And possibly so does the idea of a “community coffee house” – nowadays it seems like every place is a community this-or-that, to the point that the word has started to lose meaning. But at AJ’s the sentiment is utterly sincere, the kind of sincere a cynic like me thought only existed in irony. At AJ’s, you ARE loved.