Elisabeth Pezzuto: Learning and Working at the Rye Berry Cafe

It is hard not to fall in love with the hallmark-esque feeling that you get walking through Hamilton, N.Y. Everything is nestled cozily together with a lush, green town square center and smiles all around. Although Hamilton is a fairly small town, it contains a surprisingly large variety of stores and restaurants scattered about the confusing maze of interactions downtown. One of these great places is The Rye Berry cafe, a quaint little cafe with a classy feel. Among the many happy employees is Elisabeth Pezzuto, a senior from Hilo, Hawai’i who recently found herself working amongst the aroma of baking bread and brewing beverages that draws crowds of hungry students and town members inside.

Pezzuto was encouraged to apply to The Rye Berry cafe by a friend who worked there this past summer. The fair work hours and opportunity to learn how to be a barista, while getting experience in retail, all sealed the deal for Pezzuto, and she decided to apply for a job. 

I am a cashier and barista, and my hours are awesomely flexible. I work two four-hour shifts twice a week, and sometimes work from 8a.m.-3p.m. on Saturdays,” explained Pezzuto.

Although Pezzuto is one of two students currently working at The Rye Berry, their shifts do not overlap. Instead, she has been happy to get a chance to get to know the town members she works with. Pezzuto expressed her appreciation for her coworkers, saying that each and every one of them is great.

Before it was taken off of the menu, the veggie scramble consisting of eggs with kale, sauteed mushrooms, caramelized onions, roasted cherry tomatoes and kale pesto was Pezzuto’s favorite Rye Berry dish. Now, her favorite item on the menu is the lavender fog, a hot or iced organic earl grey tea with lavender, steamed milk, and vanilla bean. The Rye Berry menu has a range of selections, including pastries, sandwiches, vegetarian options and freshly baked breads.

“The Rye Berry has treated me really well so far and I always look forward to my shifts. I am learning new things every shift – whether it is getting to know a customer, learning how to make a new drink or discovering how I, myself, deal with a retail setting!” Pezzuto gushed.

Outside of her job at the Rye Berry, Pezzuto keeps herself busy with a diverse spread of classes, clubs, hobbies and jobs on Colgate’s campus. As a biology concentrator and German minor, Pezzuto spends a lot of time devoted to her school work. 

“Managing class load and work is always a balance – it just means I have less free time for ‘me’ like going to the gym, but I still make my way there and always try to go to bed early,” Pezzuto said. 

Along with the German minor, Pezzuto is an officer for the German club, through which she practices her skills through writing, listening to German podcasts and speaking German.  

Pezzuto is also a member of Outdoor Education (OE), which she counts as both a club and another job. As a part of OE, Pezzuto is able to explore some of her other interests, including hiking, canoeing and hammocking.

In the future, Pezzuto hopes to get an MD/PhD in cancer research. In preparation she works in the Hagos lab in the Biology Department doing colon cancer research.

Overall, Pezzuto has enjoyed her jam-packed Colgate experience.

“I like staying busy, so the life I currently live is a good one for me,” Pezzuto said.