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Cafe J, dorm businesses offer new on-campus dining options

| Thursday, March 17, 2022

As the weather warms up and the days get longer, now is a great time to venture across campus to try a new on-campus restaurant or dorm food sale business.

Cafe J opens in the Morris Inn

Cafe J is a new coffee shop that opened last month in the Morris Inn. The cafe offers Peet’s Coffee, lattes, cappuccinos, mochas and hot teas as well as a variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic cool beverages including Notre Dame Family Wines. Pastries from the University’s executive pastry chef Sinai Vespie are also available for purchase, and the cafe plans to add charcuterie boards, fruit, sandwiches and salads to the menu in two weeks.

Micki Kidder, vice president of University enterprises and events, helps oversee the Morris Inn and led the efforts to design the cafe and curate its food and beverage offerings.

“For about the past year we had been contemplating building out a new … offering in that space,” Kidder said. “The space used to be the hotel’s gift store, which was extremely underutilized and not very visible to hotel guests, and we felt the hotel was missing a coffee shop-type offering.”

Courtesy of Scott Rieth
Cafe J employees pose with the pastries they sell at the new, living room-inspired Cafe J in the Morris Inn.

Students can order from the cafe in-store or using the Grubhub app. Flex Points and Domer Dollars are accepted, an option which Kidder said has attracted a surprising but welcome number of students.

“It’s been one of the things I’ve loved to see — more and more students are visiting the cafe,” she said. “What’s been fun is students are enjoying, relaxing and studying in the lobby of the hotel which has brought it to life.”

Cafe J is currently open to the public every day from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m., though Kidder said she hopes to eventually lengthen the hours to further accommodate students and hotel guests. As for the cafe’s name, she said the “J” stands for three things. The first is java, and the second is Jerry Hammes, a donor who helped fund the space.

“And the third is joy,” Kidder said. “We hope that every guest leaves with a lot of joy from the physical experience, the people who are working and the products they’re enjoying.”

Griffin Kitchen offers late-night quesadillas

Located in the basement of Stanford Hall and named for the dorm’s mascot, Griffin Kitchen offers made-to-order shredded chicken and three-cheese quesadillas — known as “Griffidias” — for $3 and $2 respectively.

Sophomore Joe Hunt describes himself as the founder, manager, supervisor and a cook at Griffin Kitchen. He started the business in January after beginning the planning process last semester. A finance and Spanish major, he said running Griffin Kitchen allows him to combine his finance skills with his passion for food.

“I love cooking. I like … cooking fancy things like Beef Wellington and chicken cordon bleu,” he said. “And, I’ve always been kind of envious of Keenan for having Keenan Pizza. I was like, ‘Why doesn’t Stanford have something like that in our basement?’”

Originally, Hunt said he wanted to open a Stanford steakhouse but realized he should probably go with something more convenient after considering costs and time commitment. He decided on quesadillas after taking input from fellow Stanford residents.

Griffin Kitchen’s current hours are 10 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Monday through Thursday and 11 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. Friday and Saturday.

“The dining halls close at 9 [p.m.] on weekdays and 7 [p.m.] on weekends, so throughout campus, I’ve heard a lot of people struggle to [find things] to eat later in the day,” Hunt said. “Having the opportunity to eat good food rather than going to the Huddle and getting Skittles or something … affects studying and affects health.”

He said both Stanford residents and non-residents are enjoying Griffin Kitchen’s convenience, cheap prices and late-night hours.

“People have been saying it’s really good food … so I couldn’t be happier with the feedback I’ve been getting,” he said. “It’s been pretty fun.”

Siggy Pizza revives an old favorite

Open from 9 p.m. to midnight Sunday through Thursday and 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday, Siegfried Hall’s Siggy Pizza offers another late-night option. Students can order pizzas for pickup on the Siggy Pizza website, and their purchases support the South Bend Center for the Homeless.

Courtesy of Jakub Drwal
Siegfried Hall residents enjoy a slice from Siggy Pizza, a new dorm food sale business organized by first-year Jakub Drwal.

First-year Jakub Drwal said he is the CEO and executive chef at Siggy Pizza. He is responsible for sourcing ingredients and managing fellow Siegfried residents who work at the pizzeria.

“We offer four different sauces which can be paired with … pepperoni, sausage or both,” Drwal said. “Our sauces include original — traditional red sauce, garlic, lava — fiery, very hot sauce and monster sauce — a mixture of our garlic and lava sauce.”

He said lava sauce with pepperoni is the pizzeria’s top-selling combination.

Siggy Pizza opened at the beginning of the semester Jan. 15 in the space where the Siegfried Pizzeria operated prior to the pandemic. The original pizzeria was shut down in March 2020 when students were sent home due to the pandemic, and the space remained vacant for over a year.

“In the fall of 2021, I approached Fr. Joe Pedersen, Siegfried Hall’s rector, in hopes of receiving permission to restart Siegfried Pizzeria since I saw the need for food options on campus when the dining hall is closed,” Drwal said. “Once permission was granted, I renamed Siegfried Pizzeria to Siggy Pizza.”

Since opening, he said he has really enjoyed making pizzas and plans to add “Siggy Shakes” to the menu soon. He hopes the pizzeria and the new shakes attract students to Siegfried from across campus.

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About Claire Reid

Claire Reid is an associate news editor at the Observer for the 2022 - 2023 term. She is a junior from Madison, Wisconsin in the Journalism, Ethics and Democracy program.

Contact Claire