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New cafe brings changes to campus dining

New Ag Bldg gets some options for eating

Published: Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, March 21, 2012 13:03


LUKE’S CAFE ON THE QUAD opened in the university’s new Agricultural Sciences Building. With a new range of menu items, Dining Services is working to create a variety of meals and atmospheres to benefit the highest number of students it can. Luke’s is open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday. KELSIE MASON photo


The Monday opening of Luke’s Cafe on the Quad in the new Agricultural Sciences Building marked the completion of one of many projects USU Dining Services has had in the works throughout this school year. 

Dining Services is pointing toward one goal — to enhance students’ college experiences by providing not only food, but atmospheres where they can create memories, said Alan Andersen, Dining Services executive director.

The same day Luke’s Cafe opened, the hours of operation for the Hub were extended. Instead of closing at 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, the Hub, located on the first floor of the Taggart Student Center, will stay open until 5 p.m., except for Scotsman’s Corner and Salad Masters. Taco Time will continue to stay open until 9 p.m.

“We are looking to create areas where students want to come and hang out,” said Jaime Bradford, operations manager for Dining Services. “We want to create that experience throughout our dining options. It’s in everything we do.”

The cafe was named after the Luke Family, who donated funding to the College of Agriculture that was needed for the cafe’s construction, Andersen said. The Dining Services staff said they want the name “Luke’s” to catch on, instead of “Cafe on the Quad.” The cafe will be open 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“This cafe will become a hub of traffic,” Andersen said. “We are going to get patio furniture around the outside and it will be a smoke-free patio. The College of Ag really wanted to do that and we are supportive of that. USU Police is also supportive of enforcing that.”

Bradford said Dining Services wants every dining experience on campus to have a different feel. Luke’s menu offers food items that cannot be found anywhere else on campus, she said. 

Some of these items include lasagna rolls, artichoke dip, a veggie pita pocket and sandwiches unique to the cafe, including the Avery Island Sandwich — a croissant filled with shrimp salad. The entire menu is displayed digitally on flat-screen TVs.

“We want to be able to differentiate one cafe from the other,” Andersen said. “We have got to develop menus that are different. We made this menu different intentionally.”

Fitting with the goals of the college, Andersen said he is looking into using locally grown and produced ingredients for the cafe’s menu, including the Student Organic Farm. However, it is impossible to do this year-round, he said. The ideal time to buy from local producers is during summer school when only a small proportion of students are on campus. 

“I would like to buy a hoop house that is completely ours within the organic farm,” Andersen said. “Then we can extend the year, and all the salads in Luke’s can be produce from that hoop house. But there are a lot of logistical things that need to be worked out before we get there.”

Dining Services directors have also discussed providing sushi made on-site at Luke’s, Andersen said. They have also considered having local sushi restaurants provide the cafe with their menu items. 

Only triple-certified coffee products, supplied by Caffe Ibis, are sold at Luke’s, which means they meet three requirements — they’re organic, fair trade and Smithsonian Shade Grown “Bird-Friendly.” 

Luke’s Cafe is lined with large windows, letting natural light shine in and allowing visitors a wide vista of the Quad, with its 100-year-old trees, the Old Main Building and view of the snowy Wellsville Mountains.

“We have a gorgeous campus,” said Sarah Ahlstrom, a freshman majoring in elementary and special education. “It’s nice to be indoors away from the wind. It’s like being in nature behind a window.”

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