Café Fresco, Hillsdale’s “grab and go” lunch destination, started simply as a means to alleviate the noon traffic in the Knorr Family Dining Room, but is fast becoming the on-campus food favorite.
Offering a to-go lunch option in exchange for one meal swipe, Café Fresco has lightened the lunch rush in the Dining Room by 250 to 300 students per day, according to General Manager of Bon Appetit Dave Apthorpe. With the addition of Liberty Bucks as a payment option last week, it has the potential to become even more popular.
Café Fresco is structured to be a Grab option that facilitates a quick and portable lunch option for students and faculty. Students grab a brown paper bag from the beginning of the line, and can fill it with they have the option to choose one entree, one side, and one dessert or snack, along with a water bottle.
The entrees include an assortment of sandwiches, salads, and wraps, along with the new addition of snack boxes, filled with veggies, hummus, peanut butter, cheese, and other small bite options. Sides range from fruit cups to parfaits to quinoa salads. For snacks, there is a rotating cycle of fruit, granola bars, chips, and fruit snacks.
Junior Tim Polelle frequents Café Fresco most days because he said he likes the food better.
“I think the food here is better than in the cafeteria,” Polelle said. “There’s less quantity, but typically on average its just better quality food. I find that Passport and Comforts tend to experiment a little too much for my taste. I get the sense it’s more reliably normal food at Café Fresco.”
Marketing Coordinator and William Persson ’17 said the café plans to introduce an Asian inspired Bento Box to the menu later this semester.
“It originated in Japan. It is a little box with five to seven different compartments with different little bites,” Persson said. “Typically, they would be more an Asian inspired, like maybe a deconstructed sushi roll or a tofu type dish. We spend a lot of time deciding what is going to go into the new items.
Though it now accepts Liberty Bucks, Bon Appetit is not considering making the jump to cash or card.
“We wouldn’t consider that because we think the proximity of AJ’s to that location Café Fresco is close enough,” Apthorpe said. “We have that option available, the 300 yards is not unrealistic to travel.”
Despite requests from faculty, the café is also unlikely to break up items for individual purchase, for fear that it would slow down the line and create congestion in the already crowded space.
“The objective of Café Fresco is to be a really quick-swipe option,” Apthorpe said. “Breaking up the basket will slow everything down. So we are not considering selling items à la carte.”