When Lou’s Cafe was up and running in the E. Claiborne Robins School of Business, junior Kathryn Shea, who is an accounting major, would eat there three times a week because the Red Pepper Gouda soup was a constant in her routine, Shea said.
Yet, since Jan, 25, Lou’s Cafe has been closed because of the rise of remote learning in the business school and the opening of the Organic Krush Cafe in the new Well-Being Center, Terry Baker, executive director of Dining Services, wrote in an email to The Collegian. Lou’s closure is temporary, Baker wrote.
Junior Ciara Campbell, who majors in business administration, misses the trusted grab-and-go cafe, she said.
“I’m definitely sad they’re closed; I hope they re-open for next year whenever we’re back in the business school,” Campbell said. “I would go to Lou’s at least three times a week when it was open last year, but only once a week or every other week this year since way less of my classes have been in the business school.”
There are currently 1,642 students taking business school classes this semester, many of whom take multiple business school classes, Laura Thompson, assistant dean of undergraduate student services, wrote in an email. Of those 1,642 students, 149, or 9%, are studying remotely, Thompson wrote.
There are currently 285 business school classes being offered this semester, Thompson wrote. Of those 285 classes, 42, or 15%, of them are offered online, Thompson wrote.
In spring 2020, there were 292 sections of business school classes offered, none of which were online, Thompson wrote.
The fewer in-person class options in the business school led to decreased business for Lou’s, Baker wrote.
Organic Krush Cafe, the retail dining location in the newly-opened Well-Being Center, has been very popular among the campus community and busier than expected — which Dining Services is delighted about, Baker wrote.
“At the same time, we saw a decrease in business at Lou’s,” Baker wrote. “... In late January, we made the decision to temporarily close Lou’s and reallocate all those employees to Organic Krush for the time being to assist with the rush during these first busy few weeks of the spring semester.
“Lou’s will reopen once we get settled.”
Campbell is an off-campus student, so she had not yet been able to return to campus at the time of the interview. However, she said she heard people had been going to Organic Krush more often than Lou’s this semester.
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Although Organic Krush does offer many healthy options on campus, the high prices deter Shea from cashing in her dining dollars at the new cafe.
For instance, “Lou’s Made to Order Full Salad or Quinoa Bowl'' averages $6.49 with the option of additional salad bar toppings for a $.75 fee. This can be compared with Organic Krush’s “Krush Your Own” salad base alone, which averages $12, with a required protein that is a minimum of $2, according to UR’s Dining Services website.
No item on the Lou’s menu has a base price as high as $12, however; that is an average base price at Organic Krush, according to UR’s Dining Services website.
For Shea, the prices and portions that Lou’s offered best suited her budget, she said. When it was up and running, she would average about three times a week at the cafe, she said.
“I think without Lou’s, [UR] lacks a healthy, reasonably priced dining option,” Shea said. “As someone who goes through a lot of dining dollars, I appreciate Lou’s being cheap, yet still having healthy options.”
The official reopening date for Lou’s remains uncertain.
Contact contributor Caroline Lydecker at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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