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Science & Environment

As Irma Approaches Miami, Twin Brothers Serve Up Last-Minute Coffee And Croissants

Top: Customers at Café Croissant peek through the front window ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Irma in Miami, Fla., on Saturday. Bottom: Co-owner Pascal Vedel prepares a box of croissants.
Top: Customers at Café Croissant peek through the front window ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Irma in Miami, Fla., on Saturday. Bottom: Co-owner Pascal Vedel prepares a box of croissants.

Hurricane Irma is expected to bring high winds and heavy rains across Florida as a Category 4 storm. While many people stocked up on supplies and boarded up their windows, a few businesses remained open in Miami on Saturday.

Café Croissant had its bright "open" sign lit, welcoming customers in from the rain. Pascal Vedel, who co-owns the cafe with his twin brother Didier, greets each patron with a smile and offers them coffee. The brothers are originally from Montpellier, in southern France.

Didier, who looks nearly identical to Pascal, steps out of the kitchen with a warm plate of food. After visiting Miami 20 years ago, they decided to move to the city because they loved the mix of people.

Hurricane Irma is the strongest storm the twins have experienced while living here.

Hurricane Irma approaches the Miami skyline seen on Saturday morning.
/ Cassi Alexandra for NPR
Hurricane Irma approaches the Miami skyline seen on Saturday morning.

"We have to pray for the best," Pascal says. "There is going to be a [storm] all the way from Key West to Jacksonville."

Patron after patron walks through the doors and gushes about the hardworking brothers. They're especially happy to enjoy their delicious food on such a stormy day.

One of the customers is Elias Smith, 21, a student at University of Miami. He also lives in an apartment above the cafe.

"There is a magic to this city that no other city I've been to has," Smith says.

Smith stopped in to pick up some food along with Rachel Grunert, 21, a friend from school who's staying with Smith after she was evacuated from her campus dorm.

"I think people that live in Miami are very strong mindset type of people," Grunert says. "My hope is that everyone rallies after, to rebuild if necessary."

Pascal and Didier opened at 7 a.m., and closed around noon so they could get home before the curfew issued by Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado.

"Have a good day! Be safe," Pascal says as a customer walks out the door.

Patrons of Café Croissant enjoy a meal at one of the few restaurants open in Miami ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Irma on Saturday.
/ Cassi Alexandra for NPR
Patrons of Café Croissant enjoy a meal at one of the few restaurants open in Miami ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Irma on Saturday.

is an independent photographer who splits her time between Orlando, Fla., and Brooklyn, N.Y.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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