Frost Café Has Soft Opening
Issue   |   Wed, 03/07/2012 - 01:58
Photo by Peter Mack ’15
Frost Cafe offers students hot beverages, cold beverages and high-scale pastries.

On March 1, Frost Café had its soft opening, fulfilling a long-anticipated addition that hopes to answers calls for food and drink in Frost Library.

Planning for the café started since last spring, while construction began immediately after last semester’s final exams and finished in mid-February. Dining Services then spent time setting up equipment and figuring out staffing, resulting in the March soft opening. However, shortly after spring break, the café hopes to have a grand opening, with more fanfare and possibly with some giveaways.

The soft opening gives the Library and Dining Services time to experiment with the options the café offers.
“It’s very much in flux. The menu and the hours remain an experiment, and we expect that both will evolve to match how and when students use it,” said Bryn Geffert, Librarian of the College.

So far the soft opening has been a large success.

“It’s been fun to watch eyes grow wide and then smiles appear as students walk through the door and realize that the café is finally open,” Geffert said. “Business, so far, has been good. Tony, the café manager, told me he barely had time to breath last night — the line at the counter nearly reached the library entrance.”

So far, the product line has been very well received. The café features more upscale versions of pastries found at Schwemm’s, ranging from muffins and coffee cake to scones and brownies. It also features cold drinks like Vitamin Water, IZZE, Orangina, V-fusion, S. Pellagrino and Evian water, and hot drinks such as Dean’s Beans coffee (a different blend than those served in Valentine Dining Hall and Schwemm’s), cappuccinos, lattes, teas and hot chocolate.

“The pastries are more similar to what you would find at Starbucks or Amherst Coffee [than what is at Schwemm’s],” said Charlie Thompson, Director of Dining Services.

The library hopes the café will help position the library as a communal academic venue, where people can talk, debate, and work together.

“Amherst is short on good community space, and we hope the cafe might help fill that void. We want the library to be a place not only for solitude and individual work, but also for discussion, debate, conversations, classes and research,” Geffert said. “It’s important that libraries encourage and accommodate the social aspects of research — the need to bounce ideas off others and discuss avenues of inquiry. It’s also important to have a place to relax — to take a few minutes to decompress during long stretches of concentration.”

So far, students seem to enjoy the café.

“I like it a lot. I think it’s a really good option for students who spend a lot of their time in the library. Now they don’t have to go to Val or Schwemm’s for food,” Devin Pence ’14 said. “It looks nice too. I like the new furniture.”

Frost Café will be open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, closed Saturdays and open Sundays 2:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.