Admin. Consider Grove Cafe Replacement

Ever since the Grove Cafe closed its doors at the end of Spring Quarter, the University Centers Advisory Board has been searching for ways to fill the space.

The newest plan, according to UCAB Chair Nicole Metildi, is to replace the cafe with a Mexican restaurant. One option is San Diego-based restaurant Porkyland, which specializes in pork-based entrees, though Porkyland is only one of many restaurants that could potentially replace the empty space.

“The Mexican restaurant Porkyland is one that we are considering, but we haven’t looked at all the options yet,” Metildi said.

The Grove Cafe shut down at the end of last year after failed attempts to revitalize the cafe and a $180,000 debt. After A.S. Council voted at its last meeting to shut down the 24-year-old student-run café, ownership reverted back to the university and responsibility for the space fell into the hands of UCAB.

Decisions on how to fill the space have been on standstill due to summer break, but plans regarding which restaurant or vendor to bring to the Old Student Center will be finalized in the next month, UCAB director Paul Terzino said.

“A taco shop is one of the many options we are considering about the future of the Grove,” Terzino said. “We have not finalized anything yet. The decision of choosing a vendor will hopefully be done in the next three to four weeks.”

Though the new restaurant will be housed in the same space — under T-Shirt Factory in the Old Student Center — the new business will be free from its debt. The debt will become the financial burden of A.S. Council instead. According to Metildi, the new restaurant will differ from its predecessor because it will not be student-run.

However, before the ex-coffee shop can be converted into a new restaurant, it must avoid the problems that led the café into heavy debt.

Some of the problems that led to the Grove Cafe’s failure included the lack of visibility and competition with other restaurants on campus. To counteract this, the new restaurant will be renovated and will provide services to students that other campus vendors do not, such as ethnic food.

Regardless of which restaurant fills the space, it must suit and contribute to the atmosphere of the Old Student Center, A.S. President Wafa Ben Hassine said.

“[The new business] will be one that matches with the culture in that area and flows with the rest of the environment,” Hassine said.

Metildi stressed that UCAB is looking for a unique alternative to fill the space.

“We want something that we don’t have on campus and can compete with other restaurants on campus,” Metildi said. “We will also change the space to make it more inviting to students.”

Construction and renovation will likely begin next summer to allow for the restaurant to open its doors during Fall Quarter 2011. Decisions on whether to incorporate Triton Cash into the new restaurant will be decided within the next couple months.­

Readers can contact Nisha Kurani at [email protected].