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Empty refrig­er­ators sit in the top floor of Kendall for the making of the “Grab and Go” snack bar. Breana Noble | Courtesy

Knorr Dining Hall will have com­pe­tition for stu­dents’ meal swipes starting next week.

Café Fresco, the new grab and go service from Bon Appétit Man­agement Co. in Kendall Hall, opens Monday. Serving patrons from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., the shop will offer a new menu of sand­wiches and salads for stu­dents to swipe to alle­viate cus­tomer con­gestion in the Grewcock Student Union’s cafe­teria and offer an easy way to get lunch to go.

“We want to always push the limits of what we’re capable and expand the expec­tation of our guests,” said David Apthorpe, general manager for Bon Appétit at Hillsdale. “We want to get as much use out of the student union while pro­viding an addi­tional service and meeting demand.”

Unlike A.J.’s Café or Jitters Coffee Cart — which accept cash, cards, and Liberty Bucks — Café Fresco takes only the meal sweeps that pre­vi­ously were limited to use in the Grewcock dining hall. Persson said based on how the project goes, it may con­sider accepting Liberty Bucks in the future.

Stu­dents have a choice of two types of meals at Café Fresco. The first con­sists of a sandwich, side, drink, and dessert. Sides range from a mini kale salad to a bag of chips.

“The items are nutrient-dense but also deli­cious,” said William Persson ’17, Bon Appétit’s mar­keting manager at Hillsdale. “They’re not some boring sandwich.”

The second is a dinner-size salad with a dessert and drink.

“The salads are a lot bigger,” Persson said. “They’re more like a full meal with meat and veg­etables.”

For Café Fresco, Bon Appétit has made up 12 new kinds each of sand­wiches, salads, and sides (not including chips and desserts) for its soft opening this semester. Each day, there will be three options of each with choices rotating based on con­sumer demand.

“The key was variety,” Persson said. “We didn’t want people to be bored going there every day.”

Apthorpe said every day there will be options available for indi­viduals with dietary restric­tions at the new café. Persson added that the Bon Appétit team has designed a veg­e­tarian sandwich and that the entree salads will be gluten-free.

Stu­dents will be able to find spe­cials and menu updates on the shop’s Instagram @hillsdalefresco. Daily menus will be available on hillsdale.cafebonappetit.com.

In the future, Persson said Bon Appétit hopes to add even more selec­tions.

Café Fresco’s name is meant convey that its meals are made fresh daily in the Searle Center’s catering kitchen, but also available for stu­dents to grab quickly. Its hours mirror the Grewcock cafeteria’s to alle­viate its lunchtime busyness. Between 1,100 and 1,300 people come to the cafe­teria for lunch, mostly between 11:55 a.m. and 12:10 p.m.

“The biggest chal­lenge for me is the times when the cafe­teria is open,” freshman Sam Swayze said. “That would resolve that com­plaint. The porta­bility would be nice.”

Stu­dents said they were excited about the new café, espe­cially if it does free up dining space in the cafe­teria.

“A lot of days, you arrive at 12:15 p.m. and can’t find a seat any­where,” sophomore Jillian Riegle said. “It can give me anxiety to go. I don’t look forward to it. I hope the grab and go does alle­viate some of the over­crowding.”

Apthorpe said the opening of Café Fresco will cause unex­pected chal­lenges but noted that Bon Appétit is working to make the project a success and will implement changes as needed.

Ulti­mately, though, the hope is that the new service will benefit the stu­dents and func­tions of Bon Appétit’s service as a whole, Persson said.

“I would have loved to have this option available,” he said. “It’s nice if you do not have time to go to lunch and spend an hour there, waiting in line and then you start talking to friends. That’s more like an event. Café Fresco will allow stu­dents to save time if they need to.”

Riegle added that she is happy to save more of her Liberty Bucks when she cannot make it to the cafe­teria.

“It’s nice that I can use a swipe,” she said. “That way I can still buy coffee three times a week.”

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Breana Noble
Breana Noble is The Collegian's Editor-in-Chief. She is a born and raised Michigander and studies politics and journalism. This summer, Breana interned in New York City at TheStreet, a business and finance news website. She has previously worked for The Detroit News, The American Spectator, and Newsmax Media. She eventually hopes to pursue a career in investigative journalism. email: bnoble1@hillsdale.edu | twitter: @RightandNoble