Global Café finally open to customers


Ohana Sarvotham

The Global Café, located on the north side of the Humanities and Social Studies Center, welcomed its first customers on Aug. 20.

George Kosinski, Staff Writer

Since the Humanities and Social Sciences Center (HSSC) opened in 2019, one space on the north side of the first-floor atrium has languished idly, giving students potential hope of a new dining option on campus: The Global Café. After a long delay, Grinnell Dining Services officially opened the space on Aug. 20.

As indicated by its name, the Global Café intends to offer a selection of foods and drinks from around the world. The current menu includes a rotating assortment of pastries such as tarts and croissants, as well as beverages like tea and lemonade.

The space itself is small, with just enough room for two workers behind the counter — typically one Dining Services staff member alongside a Student Dining Worker. “It’s nice, it’s not too intense or too involved,” said Amelia Denek `24 about operating in the café. She has worked in Dining Services for three years and said that the café offers a nice change of pace.

Currently, the Global Café offers a modest array of international drinks, baked goods and snacks, but options are expected to increase as Dining Services and the International Student Organization (ISO) collaborate to develop a more extensive menu.

Despite the incomplete menu, students at Grinnell have already begun to enjoy what the Global Café has to offer. “My dining experience was fantastic,” Theo Richter `23 said after purchasing a croissant. “My croissant was actually very good — I think it was much better than D-Hall. It had a really nice hazelnut chocolate filling.”

Appreciating the space itself, Richter continued, “it’s very cute in there. They have this cool retro-looking oven and lovely tiling in the back. It was odd that one side of the café looks closed, and the display is relatively empty. I think that took away from the ambiance, but I will still definitely come back.”

Expanding the menu is a high priority for Dining Services as well as ISO. “We were not initially consulted about it,” said ISO President Jivyaa Vaidya `23. “I first heard that the Global Café would be opening in early August, and I immediately contacted Dining Services asking how ISO could help. It seemed weird how they had the title ‘global’ plastered on the café without ever consulting the many international students at Grinnell.”

Vaidya credits the Executive Chef of Dining Service, Scott Turley, who is working on getting the café fully ready, for his receptiveness to the proposal, saying, “Turley is very excited about the ways in which ISO and Dining Services can collaborate.”

Turley could not be reached for comment regarding the café’s opening. “I was aware of the Global Café last year,” said Richter. “Last school year, in the fall, there was this big hubbub about it opening, and then that never occurred. It’s taken a really long time, but I also know that there were staffing shortages in Dining Services, and it seemed D-Hall [The Marketplace] was enough of a challenge.”

With the space still in the works, Vaidya indicated that ISO will be releasing a survey soon, explaining the capacity of the Global Café and giving students an opportunity to suggest items that they think would work well on the menu.

“I’ve had so many students come up to me and ask about boba tea,” she said. In the spirit of “active collaboration,” after hearing about this interest in boba, Turley quickly decided to add it to the café’s offerings, according to Vaidya.

Students can expect boba and Vietnamese coffee, another popular suggestion, to be served at the Café within the next few weeks.

“It is important that the food at the Café is appealing and tastes good, in order to respect all the different cuisines that are represented,” said Vaidya. She cited the skepticism of workers in Dining Services about boba, as the drink received a mixed response when it was previously offered at the Spencer Grill.

ISO is additionally organizing a panel that will consist of international students with cooking experience and upper-level chefs from Dining Services. ISO, the largest student organization on campus, hopes to create discussions about menu items and establish more regular and transparent communication between students and Dining Services.

The Global Café can be found on the north side of the HSSC atrium and is open from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday through Thursday.