Beginning July 31, the Coffee House will close its doors for renovations.
The popular ASUCD-run business is scheduled to re-open fall 2010. In the meantime, limited services will be offered in the east wing of the Memorial Union. Campus Copies, the Aggie Student Store, Book Buyback and the U.S. Post Office will close to make room for temporary operations.
In addition, the Griffin Lounge will be converted to provide additional seating for customers.
The abridged menu includes the essentials: coffee, “CoHome-made” baked goods, pizza, made-to-order deli sandwiches, bagels, sandwiches and salads, and espresso drinks. In addition, the Coho will offer Tri-Tip Fridays, tacos and specialty sandwiches from their outdoor grill and temporary kitchen.
According to food services director Sharon Coulson, menu decisions were made based on practical considerations.
“The bottom line is we’re going to be operating under very challenging conditions. You take a food service that serves 7,000 people a day, and you … try to serve as many customers as you can in five [former] storefronts,” Coulson explained.
Trevor Taylor, a Coffee House supervisor and ASUCD senator, echoed Coulson’s statements.
“It’s unfortunate, but given the space constraints we’re going to have to deal with, I think it’s appropriate. The Coho does the best that it can to provide cheap, affordable, eco-friendly food on campus, but given the constraints, we are limited to what we can serve,” Taylor said.
Taylor characterized the temporary menu as “grab and go.”
Coulson predicted that while she expects less business than average the coming year, students would still have convenient access to their favorite Coffee House items.
“We have a streamlined menu, so that our loyal customers will still be able to get food from – and support – the Coffee House during the school year,” she said, noting prices would not be raised during the interim period.
Also, the Coffee House, which employs around 225 students, does not expect to hire additional employees. Those who are currently working for the Coffee House and are not graduating have been asked to stay.
“Most of the employees are optimistic about next year. The CoHo is a close-knit family … it’s a great work environment. The fact we’re not shutting down completely is awesome … the hiring freeze is something that has to come with redoing the entire Coho, but at least people aren’t going to lose their job,” Taylor said.
Renovations will be paid for by funds accumulated from a 2004 ASUCD referendum, which dedicated $8 in student fees per quarter toward the face-lift. Mark Champagne, the ASUCD business manager, said the renovation project would cost an estimated $8 million. The Coffee House has not been substantially changed since it first moved to its current location in 1990, nearly 20 years ago.
“They passed the referendum because the Coffee House was overcrowded … we wanted an overall better use of space,” Coulson said. “The Coffee House is so incredibly popular that even if we tripled seating, we could fill every seat.“
Once renovations are completed, students will enjoy a more cohesive floor plan, expanded seating options and new menu items like smoothies and sushi. Old favorites, like the Hot Food Line, Pho soup, Tex-Mex line, pasta and salads will return in 2010.
Some students expressed concern at the impact renovations would have during the construction period.
“I love the Coho, I love the service, I love that it’s run by students … I eat there at least every other day,” said Elizabeth Perez, a junior political science and history double major. “But it’s frustrating that the one place students utilize on a daily basis is not going to be accessible. It being my senior year, it’s especially annoying.“
But despite students‘ reservations, Coulson maintained that the transformation would continue the Coffee House’s legacy of service to UC Davis students.
“We’ve been an integral part of the campus for forty years,” she said. “We make things from scratch. Students do all the cooking and most of our managing. We try to buy as much of our food as locally as possible. Our coffee is organic and fair-trade. And we’re student run, so we’re part of each and every student on this campus-we really are. So we hope that each and everyone one of them will be part of us,” said Coulson.
A bulletin board with facts about the upcoming renovations and services is located in the Memorial Union by the Pho soup area of the Coffee House. Students can contact Coffee House management at firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information.
ANDRE LEE can be reached at email@example.com.
Interim menu offerings
Espresso, bus kiosk and cart
• Espresso drinks
Coho to Go
• Pre-packaged salads and sandwiches
• Healthy snacks (fruit, yogurt, bagels)
• Canned & bottled beverages
Bakery & Coffee
• Drip coffee
• Hot chocolate
• Canned & bottled beverages
• Tossed green salad
• Caesar Salad
• Specialty sandwiches
• Tri-tip Fridays
• Sandwiches made to order