The Collegian
Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Passport Café approaches reopening

<p>The courtyard of the Carole Weinstein International Center, where Passport Café is located.</p>

The courtyard of the Carole Weinstein International Center, where Passport Café is located.

Passport Café's temporary closure has impacted the University of Richmond community, causing students to search for alternative dining options and shifting the dynamic of the Carole Weinstein International Center.   

The decision to renovate Passport was announced during the Fall 2023 semester. The renovation is part of a plan to accommodate the shifting needs of customers and create a more efficient space for the staff, according to Kirsten McKinney, UR’s director of marketing for campus operations. 

“A Grubhub pick-up station has been added to manage the high volume of mobile orders, as well as a new area to make cleaning tables and stocking more efficient,” McKinney wrote in an email to The Collegian. “We are also adding new seating, a second cold bakery case, digital menu boards, additional cabinets for recycling and composting bins and enhanced lighting.” 

While the renovation may ultimately benefit the campus community, the closure has caused some changes for students, staff and faculty.

“What I've noticed is just the lack of people; it's just much more empty now,” said Laura Fernandez, assistant professor of Latin American, Latino, and Iberian Studies. “I felt like there used to be much more of a community here, but now no one's stopping.” 

While it seems faculty members typically don't rely on Passport for meals, they have still observed significant changes in campus dynamics and community interaction. Students, on the other hand, have experienced more of a daily inconvenience, needing to find and adjust to alternative dining options. 

“I have French in the International Center every morning at 10:30, so it's very inconvenient that there's no place to get breakfast there,” first-year Claire Nord said. “I definitely go to Organic Krush or 8:15 more often now.” 

It comes as no surprise to UR Dining Services that Passport regulars have been prompted to explore alternative dining options. 

“Dining Services prepared for increased volume at surrounding locations to offset the temporary closure of Passport Café,” McKinney wrote. “All staff from Passport Café were reassigned to other locations to help with the influx.”  

Rich Jacobs, director of retail operations for Dining Services, shared that the increase in volume typically varies each day and week, but both Organic Krush and Tyler’s Grill have seen a little more than a 20% increase.

Passport is expected to reopen in early March

Contact news writer Jasmine Velasquez at Jasmine.Velasquez@richmond.edu

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