Caf‚ Suzie’s has closed its doors this semester after watching a decline in business and an inability to meet students demands for more variety on the menu.
According to Kent Bailey, executive director of auxiliaries, the closing of Caf‚ Suzie’s had been discussed for a couple of years due to the steady two year decline in business.
“We have received comments about lack of grilled food,” said Bailey, about Suzie’s menu, which only had drinks and microwavable food. This brought complaints from students who wanted food items such as french fries and hamburgers.
In an attempt to satisfy student’s appetites, Cheryl Stewart, assistant director of dining services and manager of the Tea Shop, said, “we were trying to find alternatives such as french fries that could be microwaved but they did not go over well.”
In addition, Caf‚ Suzie’s was also too small to fit a grill and fryer. The space would have to be completely modified to fulfill grease and open flame requirements as well as codes, explained Bailey.
Aside from the limited menu, students liked the atmosphere and the jukebox of Suzie’s. The caf‚ was lined with small colorful tables to sit at and the walls were often decorated with student art. “Caf‚ Suzie’s felt more like a community orientated atmosphere, it was smaller so people interacted with one another,” said junior and Tea Shop employee and former Suzie’s employee Catherine Edgerton, “Suzie’s was a hang out spot.”
“With Caf‚ Suzie’s gone there is officially nowhere to go on campus on the weekends,” said freshwoman Kelsi Johnson.
According to Bailey, weekend hours are a possibility. “Weekend hours are up in the air,” he said, “We are waiting for feedback.” Bailey said that he would be happy to have an open forum to discuss dining service issues, and welcome business and schedule suggestions about the hours and business for the Tea Shop.
“We have limited resources and I want to concentrate them on where people want to see them and during the hours people are going to be there,” said Bailey.
In the past Stewart said that they changed Caf‚ Suzie’s hours from opening at 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. to accommodate students who wanted later meals. As of now the Tea Shop’s new hours are Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. -10:30 p.m. which, makes dinner a possibility for students with night classes.
By extending the Tea Shop hours people will be able to have later meals as well as more space. The Tea Shop has bigger tables for study groups to meet, according to Stewart.”Students like the big tables, the fryer, grill, and options of the Tea Shop,” said Bailey.