By ALYSSA FANT
A new café has recently opened in Badger Central at the College Union Building on the Washington Street Campus. It is open from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
The new café serves coffee, tea, hot chocolate, snacks, bagels and pastries for breakfast. The menu will be expanding over time, Kyle Keffer, the manager, said.
Before coming to the café, Keffer worked as a chef at West Texas A&M for a year and has also worked as the sous chef at a restaurant called the Commissary in Dallas where they specialized in charcuterie, dry-aged meats and pasta. The restaurant also had a coffee shop where Keffer said he learned to be a barista, as well as a bakery, a patisserie and a butcher shop.
Keffer said he has also worked as a cook at the CBD provisions in Dallas and the Brown Derby at Disney World. He said he is looking forward to applying his restaurant experience to Badger Central.
“The cafe is starting to pick up a little bit. People are starting to see who we are and what we’re about,” Keffer said. “We want to bring the atmosphere where students feel safe to come in here and study. You can have a cheap cup of coffee that’s still really good. We don’t want to charge Starbucks prices or Palace prices. We want students to come in here and not worry about how much it’s going to cost.”
Keffer also said that students shouldn’t feel obligated to tip when they purchase something at the café, noting that if customers do tip, the money will go to a good cause.
“We took away tipping, however, if anyone does decide to tip we give it to the AC Foundation so it can be donated to lots of different organizations,” he said.
Andrew Flores, the bookstore manager, also oversees the new café. “We’re planning on having lunches available for the students; things like sandwiches and hopefully a pizza oven is going to be installed soon,” Flores said.
“We want this to be a place where student clubs and unions can come eat, hang out and play games.”
Flores said business at the café remains light due to the pandemic but the people who are already cafe regulars say they love it.
“It’s good. It’s got good service. It’s cheap,” Kena King, a business technology major, said, adding “I come almost every day to get coffee.”
Keffer is hiring part-time workers as business increases. “It’s starting to slowly pick up as word-of-mouth is starting to get around,” he said.