The Collegian
Friday, October 23, 2020

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Broad Cafe opens new possiblities for Richmond students

The new Richmond on Broad Cafe will give students a way to use their dining dollars as they contribute to the university's presence downtown, said Bettie Clarke, executive director of campus dining.

The new cafe opened on Monday, Sept. 10 in the UR Downtown Building on the corner of East Broad and Seventh Street. Clarke said the concept of the cafe was similar to the on campus dining options of the Passport Cafe and Lou's. It specializes in breakfast and lunch options and is open 7:30a.m. to 3p.m. Monday through Friday.

"Opening week has been really good," she said. "Our numbers have increased each day; we've done over 100 sales per day."

The menu will change seasonally and includes soups, sandwiches, salads and a range of desserts that have been selling out throughout the week.

Although students have the option of using dining dollars at the cafe, the restaurant is open to the public. Kimberly Dean, Richmond families initiative and UR downtown program director, said the university saw an opportunity to fill the niche for a restaurant and cafe in that area.

Clarke said that there are about 6,000 people in about a five-block radius that need to be fed, which is important because the cafe is a financially self-supporting operation, not funded by the university.

The television screens that advertise public programs happening on campus may serve as a first introduction to the university for people at the cafe, Dean said. The cafe also creates opportunities for people to visit the UR Downtown center space to view art and learn about gallery space that they may not have heard about before.

As more and more students are downtown, the UR Downtown center is a place for students to have a landing pad when they are downtown, she said. Whether they are downtown as part of a class or for an internship, they can stop and get lunch with dining dollars or sit and get work done.

Sharon Dickerson-Reed, a cashier at Richmond on Broad said that she had only swiped about five Spidercards during the opening week, despite Clarke's estimates of more than 100 people eating at the cafe each day that week.

Sarah Pascual, a student coordinator with Richmond families initiative, ate at the cafe for the first time on Sept. 14. She said she found the cafe to be convenient when she worked from noon to 5 p.m. at the UR Downtown building.

She didn't immediately see the cafe as a representation of the University of Richmond, but hoped that was more apparent to other people, she said.

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Dean said, "I'm excited because it provides another way for people to convene. The cafe is a different way to intersect and learn about what's happening with the university and our commitment and connections to the city."

Contact reporter Chrissy Wengloski at christine.wengloski@richmond.edu

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