The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

24-hour grab-and-go eatery to succeed Simon’s

Avenue-C will operate around the clock with options for all appetites. (Photo courtesy of Christopher Brown)

Once nestled in the basement of Kamine Hall was Simon’s Cafe, an eatery that, since March of 2020, has only existed in the memories of alumni and seniors. Come January, Simon’s will be replaced by a new dining option: Avenue-C, a 24-hour self-checkout marketplace.

Christopher Brown, general manager of Bon Appétit, attributed pandemic-related factors to Simon’s demise.

“Simon’s Café closed in spring 2020 when the campus transitioned to remote learning,” Brown wrote in an email. “Subsequently, Simon’s Café remained closed due to staffing challenges, which we faced, like so many other restaurant and hospitality operations have faced in the past few years.”

Several seniors reminisced about their single year with the dining venue in Kamine Hall’s basement.

“I loved going there late at night with friends. It was a long walk from Watson but it was worth it,” Shirley Liu ’23, whose go-to order was the Nutella pizza, said. “I don’t think [Avenue-C] will compare to Simon’s but I’m excited for another food option other than Lower that is open late at night.”

For Jefrey Alexander ’23, whose favorite meal was the tater tot bowl, the new option likely won’t stack up to the beloved Simon’s.

“Just name it something different. It’s more like Theodore’s, basically,” Alexander said in reference to Alvin and the Chipmunks.

Brown wrote that “hundreds of products” would be available at Avenue-C, including hot and cold options; vegan, vegetarian and organic options; and snacks, beverages and “much more.” Additionally, the new eatery will feature “new technology, a rewards and loyalty program [and] promotions.”

“Similar marketplaces have been serving students at Lehigh and other peer institutions for many years,” Brown wrote.

The plan is an effort to provide a convenient dining option for the entire side of campus down the stairs from Chi Phi and Lavender Lane, including Delta Upsilon, Conway House, Pi Beta Phi, Alpha Phi, Rubin Hall, Kamine Hall and Fisher East and West. Brown said that the decision to make the venue automated was due to staffing shortages, the same reason that Simon’s remained closed even when students returned to campus.

Fisher East residents Sam Anthony ‘24 and Christian Festa ‘24 were happy to hear the news about Avenue-C.

“I honestly think it’s pretty cool. As someone in the Fishers, it’s a long walk to anything and it would be nice to have something where I don’t have to walk up a giant hill,” Anthony said.

Festa agreed with Anthony’s sentiment.

“I’m looking forward to having an option down the hill. The one thing I’m a little curious about is what kind of food it will have,” he said.

“Catch me there at 3 a.m.,” Will Garvin ‘24 said, similarly delighted to hear the news.

Brown stated that the cost to the college will be minimal, with nothing beyond minor infrastructure charges. Canteen, the food service company partnering with Bon Appétit and the College, is funding the equipment and will be responsible for serving the operation.

Trebor Maitin ’24 contributed to reporting.

Disclaimer: Shirley Liu ’23 is a managing editor for The Lafayette and did not contribute to writing or reporting.

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