The Daily Pennsylvanian is a student-run nonprofit.

Please support us by disabling your ad blocker on our site.


Tortas Frontera will be replaced with a Micro Market that will be open by Sept. 9.

Credit: Maria Murad

More than four months after Mexican restaurant Tortas Frontera closed, a Micro Market will open by Sept. 9 in the ARCH Building on Locust Walk.

The Micro Market features automated self-checkout technology and will serve cold and hot food, from sushi to soup.

The Mexican fast-casual restaurant was closed at the end of the 2019 spring semester because of the restaurant's losses in recent years. The market will accept dining plans and swipes, as well as credit cards and cash.

Like the ARCH Building, Mark’s Café in Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center will also be replaced by self-checkout kiosks, which will be open whenever the building is open.

“There will be a variety of food and beverage offerings,” Director of Penn Business Services Pam Lampitt said. “There will be fresh fruits, sushi, cold sandwiches, salads, and a freezer section with frozen dinners and ice creams.”

The decision to replace the restaurant with a market was partially driven by student feedback from focus groups and surveys conducted last year, Penn Business Services Director of Communications and External Relations Barbara Lea-Kruger said.

Credit: Maria Murad

On August 26, the automated self-checkout technology was being installed into ARCH cafe.

“The students wanted flexibilities,” Lea-Kruger said. “They wanted longer hours and a different variety of food options, which Frontera lacked.”

Unlike the other five Micro Market locations on campus, the ARCH location will require staffers during specific hours of the day in order to prepare a selection of hot soups and sandwiches. 

There are five Micro Market locations on campus. All are located in graduate buildings, including the Caster Building of the School of Social Policy & Practice, the Graduate School of Education, the Perelman School of Medicine, and the Penn Law School.

“Penn Dining have been trying to be more flexible in its food offering for the Penn community to address some of the interests of the community,” Lampitt added.

In March 2019, Penn confirmed that Frontera would close more than five years after it initially opened in the ARCH Building. The Mexican fast casual restaurant is run by American celebrity chef Rick Bayless and served tortas, soups, guacamole, and flatbreads. 

"The decision to close the restaurant was a difficult one and stemmed from the changing food landscape on campus and dining's need to constantly recalibrate its offerings based on evolving needs of the Penn Community," Resident District Manager of Bon Appétit Bill Hess wrote in an email to The Daily Pennsylvanian in March.