The new IMU location next to the UPS Store is now serving a range of beverages, pastries, bagels, paninis and seasonal fruit.
Following the site’s soft opening Monday, Aug. 17, the café’s grand opening will be Wednesday, Sept. 9, according to Tyler Boyd, retail manager at Circle Café.
While its soft opening is accompanied by free samples, the café’s grand opening will be filled with events, music, prizes and giveaways.
“You’re going to have the exact same service during the grand opening as you will during the soft opening,” Boyd said. “Everything’s going to be the same.”
Though several locations similar to Circle Café, including Sugar & Spice, Dunn Meadow Café and Starbucks, already exist in the IMU, Boyd said Circle Café combines all of these into one location.
Boyd added that while the other locations provide grab-and-go options, Circle Café offers upscale grab-and-go options.
“Whereas Sugar & Spice have the classic and traditional pastries, we have the more upscale pastries: the tarts, the éclairs, the cream puffs,” he said.
“So yeah, we do have the IU cookie, but we’re going to let them do the traditional thing, while we’re going to do the more upscale thing.”
Boyd said while Dunn Meadow Café offers wraps and sandwiches, Circle Café specifically provides bagels and paninis.
Finally, Boyd said, while students won’t find all of the beverages that they would find at Starbucks at Circle Café, they can find the core beverages that they would find at Starbucks.
“Our drink menu is a little more limited (than Starbucks), but for the core beverages, they’ll still be able to get it, and they’ll be able to get it just as fast,” he said. “The idea is that someone who just wants to get a coffee but doesn’t want to wait in a long line doesn’t have to wait in a long line.”
And with a space on the lobby level, the new café’s location is its biggest advantage, Boyd said.
“We’re right at the entrance, so they can pop in and pop out,” he said. “We’re really going to focus on speed of service.”
Boyd said students who don’t have the time to go upstairs and visit Starbucks can come downstairs and visit Circle Café.
“It’s the same concept if they’re coming from the X bus or the 6 bus or the A bus,” he added. “(The students) know they can run in here real quick and get a beverage or some food and still make it to Ballantine or wherever, whereas they wouldn’t be able to make it to the full Starbucks. So that’s going to be the main things — grabbing those people who wouldn’t normally be able to come into the IMU, but who will be able to now.”