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Take a tour of Chartwells Higher Ed’s new Kent Café at SUNY Plattsburgh

New York deli inspiration with the freedom for culinary creativity and plenty of local components laid the groundwork of this new café, which has a menu that pays homage to the oldest-school NYC delis, yet is unique to this location and its surroundings. The plans were designed before the pandemic, but the design and menu are fitting perfectly with our “new normal.”

For the past nine years, SUNY Plattsburgh has been renovating one dorm each year. Last year, it was time for residence hall Kent’s turn. Plans for the Kent Café were created in March of 2018 and renovation began in the spring of 2019. Although the coronavirus pandemic certainly changed the face of campus dining, the Kent Café turns out to be suited for the times.

“The template came about pre-COVID, but there were things we were focusing on—signature sandwiches, portability—that fit so well into our ‘new normal,’” says Christopher Mihalyi, resident district manager with Chartwells at SUNY Plattsburgh.

The Chartwells Higher Ed dining team has been renovating in ways “that merge campus dining and campus housing,” says Amy Rascoe, marketing director, Campus Dining SUNY Plattsburgh. “We really wanted to focus on convenience for students when it came to a strategic location. Kent is essentially in the middle of campus and allows for great exposure to the students.”

The deli concept was chosen to restructure/replace a Subway and Little Al’s, a similar in-house concept of a sandwich shop located in an older campus building. “We knew the students would be looking for a New York-style option,” Rascoe says. “Little Al’s afforded our students artisan soups, salads, sandwiches, pastas and desserts. Kent Café has mirrored Little Al’s, highlighting the customized sandwich and soup concept that we knew our students valued but also offering a little more in the form of various smoothies and fully customizable coffee and espresso drinks.”

Here's a look.

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