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Friday, Mar 24, 2023

News in Brief: New cafe to open in Bicentennial Hall

Area by the vending machines where the proposed cafe will be located.
Area by the vending machines where the proposed cafe will be located.

Middlebury Dining Services and college administrators are planning to construct a new cafe in McCardell Bicentennial Hall (BiHall), with a tentative completion date in fall 2023. The cafe will be located on the second floor behind the stairs and will serve grab-and-go coffee, croissants, pastries and sandwiches.

Head of Dining and Food Services Dan Detora explained that the cafe’s location is near an existing kitchenette. In years past, there was a coffee cart in BiHall that staff members could get food and beverages from. The cart eventually became too expensive, and the logistics of brewing coffee at a separate location and then distributing it on the cart became difficult. 

Recently President Laurie Patton was looking for new ways to create community around campus, according to Detora.

“The president thought that from a community standpoint we needed something in [BiHall] to build community,” Detora said.

After having extensive conversations with the faculty and students who frequent BiHall, the college discovered a common theme: many spoke about the way the old coffee cart brought the community together. So, the idea for a cafe located in the building emerged as a solution. 

Construction on the cafe will start later this year. The project timeline depends on when the new coffee machines arrive — they typically take eight weeks to ship. The new cafe will have many self-serve options to deal with staff shortages.

Students told The Campus they are excited about the prospects of a new cafe in Bicentennial Hall.

“It would be cool for people who study late and need coffee,”Ashley Aparicio ’26 said.

Other students noted how the cafe could be useful for students who don’t have time to grab breakfast before an early morning class.

Along with the new cafe being built in BiHall, Detora is excited to continue to work with students on the opening of the campus food truck this spring. He hopes to incorporate Dolci, Middlebury’s student-run restaurant, as well as the student groups that sell tacos and crepes in the Gamut Room.