Cafe opening kickstarts eatery renovations

While the Heritage Cafe boasts new eating options, Facilities plans to update popular eating areas around campus.

Grace Gibney, Writer

The opening of the Heritage Cafe on Friday, April 17 marks the first of five projects that will renovate eating areas on campus.

The initiative for the projects derived from President Barry Corey, who felt the need to expand and improve eating venues on campus, said Jody Spicer, construction manager for facilities planning and construction.

“I think what he did is he’s been on other campuses and seen how they provide food service and heard the population of campus and there was a need,” Spicer said.


Construction of the Heritage Cafe replaced the Heritage room, which displayed artifacts and pictures from Biola’s history. The new cafe displays the same artifacts along the main wall, which will rotate to feature new displays throughout the course of the year, said Brenda Velasco, assistant director of public relations.

“Basically what we did is we took everything from the Heritage Room and we used that to sort out. We weren’t looking for new items, it’s what existed in the Heritage Room and then we selected what best fit within the space allotted in the Heritage Cafe,” Velasco said.

Not all artifacts on the wall have been placed. However, the cafe will include two neon signs, as well as the rest of the artifacts in time for the grand opening ceremony, Velasco said.


Bon Appetit hired 50 student workers in order to ensure that there are always five employees working as baristas and cashiers. Despite the fully-staffed cafe, many juices and acai bowls are made slower than other cafe recipes because they are fresher, said Steve Rall, general manager of Bon Appetit.

“We’re not getting people through on the juices and the acai bowls because that takes time. I don’t want to change that. I like being able to do it fresh,” Rall said.


The cafe offers numerous healthy eating options, including salads, wraps, granola bars, bagels and fruit. There are also scones, mini bundt cakes, biscotti, cookies and bagels to accompany the Starbucks coffee drinks and Tazo tea options.

The cafe seats 68 customers, including 22 indoor seats and 46 outdoor seats. Since opening, Rall said he has received several comments from visitors regarding the acai bowls.

“Some people commented that the acai bowls are a little too runny. We worked on a new recipe today that makes sure that we’re a little more consistent in that we’re doing that better,” Rall said.


To accommodate new Heritage Cafe customers, the library recently changed its policy to allow snack foods and covered drinks, according to Gregg Geary, dean of library and media services. However, meal items like sandwiches and pizza can only be consumed in the Cafe and the courtyards found on the main and upper levels of the library.

With the construction of the Heritage Cafe completed before its grand opening ceremony on May 6, other campus construction projects will start soon, Spicer said. Facilities planning and construction is piecing together plans for a roof over the breezeway between the SUB and the bookstore. This second project is expected to be completed before the start of the fall 2015 semester.

The final three projects include a renovation of the Andrews Banquet Hall, an expansion of Eagle’s nest into the AS conference room with an added walkway between Eagle’s Nest and Common Grounds and an upgrade of the interior of The Talon. All five projects are anticipated to be tentatively completed by 2017, Spicer said.

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