The Food for Thought Caf퀌� is ready to open its doors to Portland State University. Nov. 25 is the new tentative opening date.
The caf퀌�, which has seen numerous setbacks that have pushed its opening from as early as Sept. 23 to the current date, has students and faculty alike curious and excited about the serving of locally grown and seasonal organic food.
The caf퀌� will cater to students on tight budgets who are interested in healthy food. It is an indication of PSU’s increasing interest in creating sustainable food systems on campus.
The caf퀌� is currently undergoing construction and cleaning in preparation for the opening.
According to Jesse Engum, manager for the caf퀌� along with Shyla Ball, the preparation work includes installation of new carpets, extensive electrical wiring and plumbing for kitchen appliances, and a weeklong staff training session.
“We will be preparing food next week, but it will not be a sales event,” Engum said. “It will be a practice for our staff, and they will serve all of the volunteers who have helped us with the caf퀌� over the past two years.”
A tentative format for the menu has also been finalized. The caf퀌� will serve two soups, minestrone and a weekly favorite; four salads; five hot entrees, such as meat or vegetarian lasagna; polenta; sandwiches; sweet breads; muffins; coffee cake; and hot and cold beverages.
“The menu will be seasonal and will therefore change every term,” Engum said. “We want to serve what is grown locally at that particular time.”
Meticulous planning of the menu has ensured a third of it will cater to vegans, a third to vegetarians and the remaining third to nonvegetarians.
“I’m vegetarian and it is really cool that I don’t have to choose between two items on the menu,” said Adrian Greene, a graphic design major at PSU.
Hinz said there had been an enormous amount of progress even though the caf퀌� had not opened yet. They have been involved in catering several events, including the Sustainable Practices in Oregon event, where several of the board members spoke; the Student Development Retreat; and Deconstructing Disabilities. Roughly $1,000 has been collected in profits from these events.
“People have been asking for us,” Hinz said. “We have committed to a lot of events and they have all been successful. Now it is just the nitty-gritty like dishes and staff training.
“As a board member for the Food for Thought Caf퀌�, I am the first to wash dishes in the kitchen,” he said jokingly.
At their recent board meeting, Ball was appointed head of public outreach and marketing and will be looking to implement a marketing plan in the next few weeks.
The earlier logistical challenges between Aramark and Food for Thought for sharing of common space have been ironed out, and the two factions have worked out an arrangement.
A major breakthrough for the student-run caf퀌� was the signing of a contract with the business office.
Excitement among the student community has increased about the caf퀌�. However, some students expressed apprehension at the caf퀌�’s pushback of the opening date.
“I just wonder why it is opening two months later than announced. But it’s here now and that’s what matters now, I guess,” said Stephanie Burn, a sophomore in the black studies department.
“I did not know anything about it till now, but it is something to look forward to,” said Eric Sayasene, a PSU student.