by Zazie Tobey, staff writer
The entrance to the Sunderland basement has finally gotten a facelift. Once minimally furnished with a chalkboard, a pool table and a few beanbags, the basement is now buzzing with students chatting over lattes. From the outside, it appears to still be under construction but inside, students are greeted with a cozy atmosphere, complete with high-top tables, colorful lounge chairs, and hanging lamps.
Although the name ‘Sunderland Coffee Shop’ seems less than original, Mark Santos, one of two crew bosses, said there would be a naming contest starting in the near future, in which students can submit their best ideas and vote on the winning name.
One of various items offered at the cafe is the ‘Night Owl Blend’, a whole bean blend created this summer with the help of Wilson students and Dynamite Coffee roasting company located in Black Mountain. All coffee is brewed by the local Dynamite Company, and is fairtrade and organic.
“It has a little bit of a nutty flavor to it, not too acidic – has a bright acidic backing. We brew it strong here,” said Santos.
According to Brian O’Loughlin, the food service General Manager at Gladfelter, a local contractor known as Heritage Restoration, renovated the new café as well as Glatfelter Dining hall. Both projects were completed during the summer and took about five weeks in total.
The Wilson meal plan also features some new changes this year, one being ‘flex dollars’, a concept that allows students to have a certain amount of points they can spend at the Sunderland Coffee shop based on which meal plan they selected. If you don’t know how many flex dollars you have at the café, you can always ask one of the crewmembers to scan your I.D. and check it for you. All meal plans have flex dollars included. The more meals you have in Gladfelter per week, the fewer flex dollars you have for the Sunderland café (and vice versa).
The meal plan also comes with Sage café dollars, which does not have anything to do with the selected meal plan but acts as an added bonus.
“Students can always add more to their flex account, too,” said O’Loughlin. He said it was too soon to tell how students were responding to the renovations but hopes comments will be left on the Suggestion Board in Gladfelter and in the Suggestions Mug at the Sunderland Coffee Shop.
“We want feed back, “ said Bryan. “If there are certain items that you don’t see and would like to purchase, let us know. Our goal is to serve what you want to buy.”
The coffee shop is currently run by a two-student crew along with Liz Metzger and Santos. Metzger recently added pink, green and yellow neon designs to the menu board, creating bold lettering and artistic doodles for students to gaze upon as they order.
“Things have really been picking up here” said Metzger.
Zada Clarke, one of the crew members, is a freshman this year, and makes a mean double-shot mocha! Clarke hails from Massachusetts and has worked in coffee shops and cafes for about six years.
“I’ve been baking for about three years,” said Clarke, although all of the coffee shop’s food is prepared by Sodexo, unlike Sage café’s student-made menu. The second crew member, George Perilstein, just started crew last Monday and transferred to Wilson this semester as a junior.
Stop in any weekday between 7:30 a.m. and 6 p.m to meet the crew, submit a suggested name, and enjoy a wide variety of menu items. If you bring your own cup you don’t have to waste a non recycleable to-go lid and you also get twenty five cents off; a better deal than a cup of joe from Waffle House!