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Campus Cafes by Claire

Claire Stephens | Wednesday, September 26, 2012


When you enter the first floor of Grace Hall, you’ll be hit with the smell of something delicious. The aroma draws your eyes towards Café de Grásta where the whiteboard of the day’s specials stands, luring you in with the promise of a Belgian Waffle or some barbeque-pulled chicken. 

Serving faculty and students alike, Café de Grásta, despite its title, is really a restaurant open during business hours with large indoor and outdoor seating areas facing Mod Quad.

Its claim to fame is the fresh and colorful salad bar, an attraction especially popular amongst faculty and employees working at Grace, as well as the home-cooked specials that more resemble a small sit-down meal than an on-the-go option.

While many express eateries on campus offer breakfast sandwiches, Cafe de Grásta also offers big and small breakfast wraps, a choice popular amongst students. Another student favorite is the chicken wraps that often run out due to the lines out the door.

I tried Monday’s breakfast special, two fresh eggs with meat and potatoes, ingredients also used in breakfast wraps and sandwiches. The bacon was crispy and hearty as American bacon should be (the sausage choice looked sizzling and appealing as well) alongside the not-particularly-fresh-looking but decent scrambled eggs. 

The potatoes alongside the breakfast options more than redeemed the sub-par eggs, however. The potato slices were perfect in ways that is hard to describe: not too seasoned or too plain, not too crispy or too soft, not too big or too small. They were simply some of the best potatoes I’ve ever had, period.

Café de Grásta has a moderate amount of breakfast selections, including breakfast sandwiches and wraps, specials, à la carte items and freshly baked pastries. Other breakfast specials feature biscuits with sausage gravy, Belgian waffles with a side, pancakes with a side and the country scrambler.

Before the salad bar is even included, the lunchtime selection is huge, including daily specials, soup and hot plate grab ‘n go. The sandwich and chicken wrap sandwich options alone include more choices than one could make at the dining hall, with a wide variety of vegetables, cheeses, meats and breads for made to order sandwiches. 

Lunch specials during the week are Asian specialty, grilled chicken sandwich, Southwestern favorites, pasta selection, barbeque and Sloppy Joe sandwiches, grilled specialty sandwich, hearty home-style meal, hot sub and toasted fiat.

The best of both worlds between hot food and grab ‘n go – the hot plate grab ‘n go – consists of quarter-pound burgers, all-beef hot dogs, brats, spicy and grilled chicken sandwiches, vegetarian burgers, fries and potatoes. 

Despite all the hot food and unique dishes, Café de Grásta also has an enormous range of sides and to-go items. The standard sandwich and vegetable grab ‘n go packaged options are available, plus an entire wall of drinks including soft drinks, waters, juices, milks, energy drinks, teas and hot coffee. There are also shelves and racks of energy bars, chips and candy to buy alongside an à la carte item.

If you’re looking for a real meal or a quick on-the-go choice for breakfast or lunch, Café de Grásta has both.

Contact Claire Stephens at cstephe4@nd.edu