University of Maryland staff working at the Severn Building on Greenbelt Road will soon be able to grab lunch with ease.
Severn Cafe will open in the main lobby of the Severn Building, a storage facility located about two miles off campus, in the next few weeks, Dining Services spokesman Bart Hipple said. The cafe will offer hot dogs, sandwiches, salads, sushi, soft drinks and coffees, Hipple added.
Before, workers voiced complaints about the lack of dining options within walking distance of the Severn Building, said Dining Services Assistant Director Gregory Thompson.
Dining Services and Facilities Management began discussing the construction of a small dining venue in the building last year to address these concerns, Thompson said.
“Everybody in the building didn’t have a place to eat,” Thompson said. “They were walking to 7-Eleven, walking to wherever, and it was taking more than an hour, more than their lunch break. So that presents a problem.”
The project cost around $30,000, Construction Project Manager Tony Brown said. The cafe is nearly complete and will open once it receives approval from a health department inspection, Brown added.
To determine the cafe’s menu and the equipment needed, Dining Services requested Severn Building employees complete a survey indicating their food preferences, said Joe Mullineaux, senior associate director of Dining Services. The survey asked employees where they were eating nearby, what they were eating, what they could spend and how often they brought food from home, Mullineaux said.
The cafe’s original menu was revised based on what employees’ asked for in the survey and what Dining Services could provide, Hipple said.
“Each time we open a cafe, it’s a new venture,” Hipple said. “For us to open one that is not in an academic building, it’s a service building, I think is going to be important to the service people that work there, but that is different for us than what we do most of the time we open a cafe.”
The cafe will be open early in the morning, but does not have set hours yet, Hipple said.
“When we open an operation like this in any building we start off with hours we believe are going to be correct, but we’re flexible for the first month or so,” Hipple said.
Construction of the cafe began in September, said Jack Baker, facilities management operations and maintenance director. A sink and refrigerator were added as well as electrical circuits to support the kitchen equipment, he said.
When ideas to add to university buildings come up, such as the addition of the Severn Cafe, Baker said Facilities Management considers its cost and the availability of those services nearby.
“The idea was to provide the same type of service that the students and faculty and staff on campus have to this building that is about two miles off campus and houses many of the employees that support the campus,” Baker said.