With a new academic year at SUNY Cortland comes a new, albeit temporary, Grab-N-Go food option on campus: Under Construction Café.
The namesake is quite literal: as I interviewed Theresa “Terry” Baker, Director of Food Services at SUNY Cortland, about the pop-up café in Corey Union, I could hear the faint drilling and pounding of construction underneath.
The featured items of the café are coffee and bagels from Ithaca Coffee Company and Collegetown Bagels. Baker says it's part of the college's mission to source campus food locally.
“We have that as a vision—to continue to offer more local foods, both farm fresh and locally sourced,” she said. “So we’re always looking at opportunities that match what we want to do.”
SUNY Cortland’s efforts to work with local companies and promote community health through food service also put them in business with Main Street Farms, a local organic vegetable farm that has provided about 15,000 pounds of tomatoes that are used in all of the tomato sauce available on campus. Zucchini and summer squash will be coming soon, too.
After construction is complete in the basement of Corey Union, the campus will be unveiling three new food concepts (the vision is still in the works): Union Station, a coffee shop; Pomodori, a specialty chicken lunch venue; and Greens & Grains, offering fresh green and grain bowls. Construction is expected to be complete by the Fall 2018 semester.
“We want this to be a destination zone,” Baker said, noting that dining services on campus serves more than 9,000 people daily. “I’m really thrilled. To me, it reflects some of the modern trends in college dining. They want delicious food, and they want to know it’s prepared locally and fresh.”
I casually chimed in that maybe the addition of ramen and pho would be well received by the campus community, bringing the taste and zest from abroad to students who may not usually have that opportunity. She eagerly jotted it down.