In the wake of the closure of College Hill’s beloved Cosmic Cup, students can take comfort in knowing some of their other favorite Easton restaurants are open and staying positive while students are away from campus.
Campus Pizza House, which was closed beginning in March through the summer, re-opened on August 17 when classes resumed. About 95% of revenue comes from students, according to owner Lambros Galanos. Now, it looks a bit different than most students may remember, as it is not open during late nights.
Galanos’ other College Hill business, Mojo 516 Cafe, was able to stay open during the pandemic due to lots of local support.
Don Juan Mex Grill, owned by Juan Martinez, was supposed to open its new location at the base of College Hill in the spring. Due to complications from COVID-19, it instead opened recently, on August 3. With a 25% capacity for indoor seating due to restrictions from Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf and some outdoor seating, Martinez said business is “a little slower [than expected]” but that he is hoping it will pick up as more students make the trek down the hill for tacos, burritos and margaritas.
In downtown Easton, the beloved Easton Public Market has adapted to restrictions from the pandemic, featuring curbside pickup and outdoor dining in the front and back of the building.
Two of its vendors, Fieldstone Coffee Roasters and Olive With a Twist, have closed since the start of the pandemic. Fieldstone Coffee will be replaced by a coffee shop called Nest, run by Easton’s own 3 Birds Coffee.
“For [the Public Market], a big blow of course is Lafayette not coming back on campus,” said Easton market district director Megan McBride.
One thing these business owners agreed on was that the absence of Lafayette students has an impact on more than just business—it affects the entire energy of the town.
“The sense of vibrancy [from the students] we miss,” McBride said. “We’re used to seeing students all over, and there’s an energy that adds to the whole city of Easton. I think we missed that during the shutdown, and we’re definitely feeling it now…the college is an important part of who we are as a city.”
“There’s an emptiness in here, at Lafayette College and [on] College Hill,” Martinez added.
While planning a business around a pandemic was probably not in the cards for any restaurant owner, many are trying to stay positive and keep looking ahead to the future.
“I think [the community] is one of the reasons that Easton is going to make it,” McBride said. “Our residents here are so loyal and so supportive of our downtown restaurants and retailers.”
“People are cooperating more with the government mandate of wearing a mask, really understanding that it is important…it’s a nicer environment [now], with more understanding from everybody,” Martinez said.
Galanos expressed his hopes for the college to remain safe, adding, “You guys are smart kids, so you’ll protect yourself, protect this school, protect the neighbors.”