Cirroc Lofton grew up before the eyes of Star Trek fans. The actor was just 14 years old when he first played Jake Sisko, son of Commander Benjamin Sisko (Avery Brooks), on Deep Space Nine. By the time show ended in 1999, Lofton was nearly 21 years old and stood 6’3”. Lofton continued to act occasionally after DS9, appearing on the shows The Hoop Life and Soul Food, and guest starring on CSI: Miami, but these days he’s got something else cooking: he just opened a restaurant, Café Cirroc. StarTrek.com caught up with Lofton recently to talk about his days on DS9, becoming a restaurateur and more.
Let’s start with DS9. How do you look back at that period in your life?
Lofton: It feels like a dream now. It was an amazing experience. I took so much from that. I loved the time that I spent with those people and my time with Avery (Brooks), and that still resonates to this day. Avery and I still have a strong connection. We’ve stayed in touch throughout the years and his son and I are really good friends. But I was around really talented people who were the best at what they do. I watched and learned from how they operated, how they did their jobs, whether it was Avery or Kris Krosskove or Marvin Rush or Michael Piller or Ira Behr or Rick Berman. They did a good service to the television business by putting on the kind of show that they did and doing it how they did it.
How often do you check out your old episodes of DS9?
Lofton: I got the DS9 DVDs and I pop them in occasionally and watch some of my favorite episodes. I like to go revisit “Far Beyond the Stars.” That one always brings back great memories. I like “The Visitor.” That’s another of my favorite episodes. It’s interesting when I do conventions, because I’m always reminded of things I forgot. The fans know, in some ways, more than I do about certain things that happened.
What do you think Jake Sisko is up to now?
Lofton: He was on a path of discovery at the end of the show and I believe now that he’s really found who he is as a person, that he’s matured, that he’s experienced life and all its ranges of emotion. And I think maybe he’s ready now to take on the position of being in charge.
You just opened your restaurant. Tell us a little about Café Cirroc.
Lofton: It was easy to come up with that name (laughs). We’re in Culver City, near Playa Del Rey. It’s a growing, really sexy spot. We have gelato, which is Italian ice cream. We have sandwiches. We serve croissants and fresh coffee, espresso, cappuccinos. And right next door we have a really cute wine bar. So you can go in, have a nice glass of wine and enjoy some live music, karaoke. We do it all.
How hands-on are you, and what compelled you to get into such a completely different business?
Lofton: I’m about as hands-on as you can possibly get. I built this place kind of from the floor up. It was a place before, but we gutted it and re-did a lot of things and put our personal flair on it. Why a restaurant? I wanted to do something to show my creative side and bring something to the people that would let them experience some of what I’ve experienced in my travels around the world. We’ve got the kitchen here that we’d all like to have when we’re out dining. I actually haven’t gotten the word out to the fans yet, but I’m starting to do that now. I’m talking to (StarTrek.com). I’ll be doing some conventions. And we’ll have a site ready pretty soon, too.
You mentioned conventions. The next one for you is the Hollywood Xpo, to be held October 15-17 in Hollywood. It will feature a lot of familiar sci-fi and entertainment faces. How much do you enjoy conventions, seeing the fans, running into some of your old colleagues?
Lofton: They’re great. I probably do about two or three a year now. They’re like a reunion (for the actors) every six months. I see Avery at some of them and LeVar Burton and Brent Spiner and my friends from DS9. When I meet the fans it’s a very pleasant experience. They tell me about how they watched me grow up on the show, how that translated in their lives as they were growing up. We’re growing up together and I’m kind of a metaphor for that. They ask what I’m doing now, and now that I have that restaurant going, I can tell them about that.
What if someone came along with a script or an offer or asked you to audition for a role?
Lofton: I still want to act. I love acting. That’s my number one love and that’s what started me out on the journey in life. I think the nature of the business has changed, with all the reality shows and different kinds of programming on TV. So, the nature of my business has changed, but at the same time, it doesn’t discourage me. It just lets me know that in order for me to put out the kind of material I want to put out, I’ll have to create it – and that’s something I’m working toward.
We know you’re very much into music and a few years ago word was that you were recording a CD. What’s happening on that front?
Lofton: I actually finished that CD. It’s being mixed and mastered now and I’m probably going to release it real soon, in December. I’ve just been busy. Life has been a roller coaster. I found somebody really special that I’ve decided to spend my life with, and we have something really cool. So I’m engaged. She’s really helped me settle down in a lot of ways and helped me harness my focus. I’ve finished my music. I’ve got this restaurant going, which will also be a platform for me to do live music. I’m going to keep moving forward and doing the things I’m passionate about: acting, writing scripts, music, running the restaurant, meeting people, entertaining, having fun and also playing basketball.
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