Although the new cafe at McClelland Hall in the Quad has been open to students for a week now, Bon Appetit closed the cafe’s doors on Wednesday afternoon to host a grand opening event for faculty and administrators.
Among red and blue balloons, trays of hors d’oeuvres and an ice sculpture of the Penn shield, around 45 attendees listened to four speakers — Vice President for Business Services Marie Witt, Vice Provost for Education Andrew Binns, Bon Appetit Regional Manager Elaine Smart and Undergraduate Assembly President and Wharton and Engineering senior Tyler Ernst — to celebrate the cafe’s opening, giving thanks to those involved in the project and expressing optimism for the cafe’s future.
Meanwhile, hungry students like College freshman Razzi Abuissa waited outside. While McClelland “doesn’t have as much selection” as other dining halls, having the cafe will “make for a better Quad experience,” the Quad resident said.
“For Nursing students, this is convenient because it is closer than Houston or Hill,” said Nursing senior Lauren Olsen as she waited to try the cafe for the first time.
Once the doors reopened to students later that afternoon, Quad residents and Wharton freshmen Helen Sohn and Kelly Kim grabbed a quick lunch together between classes. Sohn and Kim agreed that without McClelland Café, they would likely have eaten only two meals a day. “If I had to go all the way to Commons in the winter, I just wouldn’t go,” Sohn said. And since the College Houses in the Quad are interconnected, students won’t even have to go outside for food in the colder months.
Ernst was similarly pleased with the cafe. The UA had hoped to see a “more robust” dining option in McClelland Hall for years and acted as a sounding board for Executive Director of Business Services Doug Berger once he unveiled to them the plans for a cafe.
“The options look very healthy and convenient,” he said. “I kind of wish it had been there when I was in the Quad.”
Something unique to the cafe is its “meal equivalency” program. For one swipe, students are limited to one sandwich or salad, two sides, one dessert and one drink — whereas other dining halls, like Hill, are buffet-style. The cafe’s policy will “prevent people from wasting food,” Kim said.
While the small size of the cafe in comparison to the number of students living in the Quad has some worried, Wharton and Engineering freshman and Quad resident Tobi Idowu isn’t phased. “Having the cafe in McClelland makes Quad life easier,” he said.
Overall, in comparison to the other dining halls, “the quality is better but the quantity is not,” said Wharton freshman Nick Longtin. And because it is so convenient, “freshmen will spend more time in the Quad.”
The cafe is open for meal equivalency swipes Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and from noon to 2 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. The retail section — where students can use Dining Dollars — is open Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and noon to 6:30 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
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