W&L’s Marketplace and Café 77 will close in February for renovations

Evans Dining Hall and expanded hours at other venues will fill the gap

Caf%C3%A9+77%2C+also+known+as+Coop%2C+will+be+closed+after+February+break+for+renovations.+Evans+Dining+Hall+will+offer+late+night+options+to+mimic+the+menu.+Photo+by+Bri+Hatch%2C+23

Café 77, also known as “Coop,” will be closed after February break for renovations. Evans Dining Hall will offer “late night” options to mimic the menu. Photo by Bri Hatch, 23

Jenny Hellwig , Staff Writer

The Marketplace and Café 77 will be closed beginning Feb.18 for renovations that will continue through the summer.

 In place of the two dining venues, Evans Hall will be serving Marketplace-style dining from 7 a.m. through 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. through 8 p.m. on the weekends. Evans will also offer Café 77-style menu items from 9 p.m. through 2 a.m. seven nights a week.

 During the renovations, first year students will be able to use their meal swipes in any venue on campus without restriction.

 K.C. Schaefer, head of auxiliary services, said that the goal is for The Marketplace, also called “D-hall,” to be reopened by August 1. Café 77, known as “Coop,” should open closer to the first week of classes, as it normally does.

 Most campus dining venues will have expanded hours during the renovation. A document detailing the proposed 2023 dining hours said that E. Café will close at 5 p.m. instead of 3 p.m., Food Side will be open between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. seven days a week in addition to its normal hours, and Tea House will close at 8 p.m. instead of 3:30 p.m.

 Schaefer said that increasing dining hours at the other venues will help limit capacity issues. The Evans seating layout will fit around 250 people. D-hall currently seats around 350.

The Marketplace, also called “D-hall,” will also be closed on Feb. 18. The renovations aim to expand seating and menu options. Photo by Bri Hatch, ’23

 

 

 

 

 

The nearly 20-year-old Elrod Commons building needs to be upgraded to increase the capacity and efficiency of the dining venues, Schaefer said. 

“As a dining service, we now serve two to three times as many meals each week as we did when the Commons opened,” he said. “When you think about what both Café 77 and The Marketplace were envisioned to be able to support, we’ve really outgrown that just from a capacity standpoint.”

 Director of Capital Projects Carole Bailey, in charge of managing the university’s annual capital budget, said that the project is primarily focused on upgrading the kitchens and serving areas of both venues, along with reconfiguring the layout of Coop.

 “It’ll be renewed; it’ll feel fresh, just more contemporary and probably more comfortable,” Bailey said. “And hopefully, those lines will get a little shorter.”

 Bailey said that Coop should see an increase in seating as soon as the renovation is complete.

 The university is also planning to add around 140 to 150 seats to the D-hall dining room. The expansion will also feature a terrace that will add an outdoor seating area to Coop, Schaefer said. This addition will be worked on throughout the next school year.

 Schaefer said these projects were envisioned back in 2018, but are now back on track after experiencing disruptions due to COVID-19.

 “There’s just no good time to renovate and we’re trying to compress the timeline into as aggressive a timeline as possible,” Schaefer said. “Unfortunately, for things of this scale you really can’t confine them to just eight weeks or something like that in a summer.”

 The Emporium will be closed during the renovations, but there will be an Evans Emporium which consists of a full convenience store and “grab-and-go” offerings in the Evans lobby.

 The living room in Commons will be closed temporarily at some point next semester, although the exact schedule has not been confirmed, Schaefer said.

 Juniors and seniors are the only students on campus who experienced Evans operating as a dining hall during the 2020-2021 school year. Schaefer said that Evans will have far more options than it did that year, including two hot food stations similar to Daily Dish and The Grill currently offered in D-hall. It will also feature separate salad, cereal and dessert stations.

 At Evans Late Night, students will be able to order food items that are similar to Coop favorites. Although most Coop menu items will not be available during the day, Schaefer said that they are working to add a “Hillel Sunrise” egg and cheese croissant to the E. Café menu. However, the meat options for the Sunrise will differ because of kosher restraints.

Other campus dining venues will expand hours to address need. Photo by Bri Hatch, ’23

 Hot coffee and cold brew will be available at Evans, but there will not be espresso drinks available at the venue because the space is not able to accommodate an espresso machine, Schaefer said.

 He also said that although dining services are working out the specific details, after the renovations they hope to add a dedicated international food station in D-hall, along with potentially adding items at Coop such as milkshakes and new hot food options.

 Alvin Wheeler, assistant director of dining operations, said that the culinary staff is looking forward to working with the updated kitchen equipment after the renovations.

 “While it kind of will be a pain, it’s something really cool to look forward to, especially with the brand new Marketplace and the future additional seating, and the new stations which will have the equipment to do some really amazing menuing,” Wheeler said. “We’ll be able to take even more feedback from students in terms of trying out different recipes.”