Rise and Grind

A new cafe opens inside Gator Alley

By Jessica Profilio

Gator Grind

The semester just started, and yet, there’s something new brewing inside Gator Alley already. After two years, the university opened the doors of a brand-new café—The Gator Grind—to bring another food service option to the NDMU community.

The Gator Grind is currently serving up a variety of Starbucks drinks on their menu—from standard items like cold-brews and espressos to seasonal options like pumpkin spice and peppermint mocha lattes. The café will also be featuring a full line of grab and go style items including salads, wraps, muffins, and yogurt parfaits.

“Since the closure of Gator Alley in 2015, we have continually considered options to re-open the space,” explains Sherry Cohen, NDMU’s Food Service Director. “Most recently, we have received feedback that a coffee shop is needed on campus. After thoughtful consideration, we decided to bring Starbucks to campus for this pilot program.”

At the grand opening celebration on January 30, students buzzed with excitement as they picked up their drinks and listened to singer-songwriter QueenEarth’s acoustic solo performance. To them, the new café means that they no longer have to journey off campus in between classes for a cup of coffee or tea.

Gator Grind 2

And while the café will be giving students the fuel they need throughout the day, it also provides employment opportunities for them—all working baristas are NDMU students who applied and interviewed for the position. Students were even involved in the planning process as they joined a competition to choose the official name for the café. The winners, Lizzie Balog, Fathima Rimzan, and Erinn Gales, received one free Starbucks drink a day for one week after their name submission, “The Gator Grind,” was voted in. “I think the new café is cute and gives a warm vibe. It’s going to be a great space for students to study and hold events,” says Balog.

Kelly Hoover, the Associate Vice President for Student Life, shared similar sentiments. “We are so excited to have this new gathering space for the NDMU community and visitors on campus,” she says. “We do hope that this space is continually being used—whether it’s for meetings with classmates or coffee with a professor.”

The Gator Grind is open Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., and Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Stop by and order your drinks so you can get back on your grind!

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