As soon as next week, students will have a new convenient option for breakfast, lunch or dinner on campus.
PennDesign’s new cafe, which will be called “PennDesign Café,” could open in the lower level of Meyerson Hall as soon as next Friday, pending final inspection and certificate of occupancy.
PennDesign partnered with Philadelphia’s 12th Street Catering to establish the new cafe, which will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. The University has worked with 12th Street Catering for approximately 10 years, with the company catering events such as PennDesign’s commencement in the past.
“We’re very confident that they can deliver a quality service to the school,” said Karl Wellman, director of operations and planning at PennDesign.
According to Wellman, the cafe will “most likely” open as early as 7 a.m. They’ll serve breakfast sandwiches, pastries and bagels, as well as coffee, espresso, cappuccinos and soft drinks. For lunch and dinner, the cafe will offer “onsite made” paninis, salads, sandwiches and soups.
The cafe will accept PennCash, but not Dining Dollars.
While the construction of the cafe began just a few months ago, the planning began long before. The carpet, cafe-style chairs and tables were added to the lower level in Meyerson Hall two years ago with hopes to eventually build a cafe in the space.
While 12th Street Catering did provide some of the funding for the cafe, PennDesign funded most of the project. According to Wellman, PennDesign will not be collecting any rent. Additionally, none of the profits will go to PennDesign and will go solely to 12th Street Catering.
“We’re a landlord, but we don’t collect any rent,” Wellman said. “We’re just content that we’ll have a service for the students and faculty.”
With several large classrooms that are used for a wide variety of different disciplines, Meyerson Hall experiences a “good amount of traffic through the building on a daily basis,” Wellman added.
In the past, there were no food options available to students in Meyerson Hall.
“We wanted to provide a space within the building that [students] could get a bit to eat, something to drink, and not have to leave the building,” he said.
The PennDesign Café at Meyerson Hall is less than 500 feet from Starbucks Coffee, Dunkin’ Donuts, Artisserie Chocolate Café and Van Pelt’s Mark’s Café. Furthermore, the new cafe is approximately 500 feet away from Houston Market and Hill dining hall. Despite the cafe’s proximity to these dining options, the school claims that it has no interest in competing with them.
“It’s not to compete with Starbucks or any of the other stores and competitors,” Wellman added. “It’s just to provide something central and local for the community here.”
Students appear to be excited about the new option.
“I’m really looking forward to having that cafe there so I can pick up some food before classes,” said College freshman Spencer Jaffe. “It will be nice to have another option so close to class.”
College sophomore Brian Rawn, an architecture major, agreed, “The new cafe will definitely be well-received among students.”
“The weather is getting harsh,” Wellman said. “To be able to have something within the building for everyone is just something great.”