Simon’s Cafe will return after a pandemic-driven hiatus, Christopher Brown, General Manager of Bon Appetit, announced at a recent Student Government body meeting.
“[Dining Services is] considering a number of different food concept options at Simon’s…We just began this process,” Brown wrote in an email.
Without Simon’s, the college’s most accessible dining option for students living on the southwest side of campus is Marquis Hall. This still requires a trek up three flights of outdoor stairs.
“Simon’s became a big part of my Lafayette experience my sophomore year when I was living on that side of campus,” Kiera Caldwell ’22 said. “Since there weren’t a ton of meal options nearby, it became a regular part of my routine to order a Take the Hill for dinner–no onions.”
When Simon’s was in use, it was a build-your-own style cafe, the most popular sandwich at the time being the “Take the Hill.” However, it is unknown if Simon’s will return as a sandwich shop.
To decide what to make of Simon’s, dining services is factoring in input from a survey released earlier in the semester about students’ preferred food choices. Additionally, the department created a student committee to advise Bon Appétit on potential dining adjustments, consulted a student focus group, and had a meeting with Student Government.
Tim Hugo ’22, director of the Student Government Student Services Committee, currently serves on the College’s Dining Services Committee and said that student feedback is appropriately heard and accommodated by the college.
“I’ve definitely heard from…a pretty significant number of students that feel as though they are limited by the lack of Simon’s,” Hugo said.
During the 2021 spring semester, Dining Services announced that Simon’s would not open with the normal menu and would only be available for grab-and-go because of COVID-19 restrictions and staffing shortages in dining services.
“We anticipate again encountering continued challenges of supply chain and vendor labor shortages this semester, which may affect our daily offerings,” Bon Appetit’s website states.
Brown echoed those same sentiments.
“Throughout the pandemic, we have experienced a variety of challenges beyond the health threat posed by the virus,” Brown wrote. “In particular, we have experienced labor shortages and supply chain issues. Due to these compounding factors, and in consultation with the college, we made the choice to temporarily close Simon’s this semester.”
Caldwell described the return of Simon’s in bittersweet terms.
“It’s devastating to know that I won’t ever get to experience a Simon’s Take the Hill again. I hope the years below me recognize how fortunate they are that such a special place will be up and running once again,” Caldwell said.
As for the timeline for re-opening Simon’s, Brown gave no specific details but ensured that “when a decision has [been] made to re-open the café…the Lafayette community [will be] notified.”