Photo by Estlin Mendez (They/them)
Upon our return to campus from spring break on Monday, March 25, Illinois Tech students were met with the pleasant announcement that the John + Pat Anderson’s Café on the first floor of the Kaplan Institute was now open for business. Ever since the transition in dining service provider from Sodexo to Chartwells and the closing of Talon’s in Hermann Hall during the summer of 2018, the western half of campus had notably been lacking a quickly accessible dining option that isn’t inside the MTCC. With this new café open, how well does it fill this market gap?
Open from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, John + Pat Anderson’s Café (named after prior President of Illinois Tech John Anderson and his wife, Pat Anderson) serves a full line of both food and beverages. As a location operated by Illinois Tech Culinary & Hospitality Services, the John + Pat Anderson’s Café accepts student meal plan Bonus Points and even has Meal Exchange options for both breakfast and lunch.
In an interview with TechNews, Ben Freund, director of retail for Illinois Tech Culinary & Hospitality Services described how this new café was designed to present a “more local, more artisan feel.”
To that end, Freund proudly described to TechNews how this new café sources its coffee locally. Whereas the older retail locations on campus, namely 10 West in the IIT Tower and Global Grounds in the MTCC, serve Starbucks brand coffee, the John + Pat Anderson’s Café serves Metropolis Coffee, hand-roasted and manually machined all in the city of Chicago. In addition, the John + Pat Anderson’s Café is staffed by trained, experienced baristas, who have already demonstrated to many customers of the café their talent for latte art. Freund described to TechNews how he thinks the John + Pat Anderson’s Café is positioned to allow for “a lot more art and finesse” in its various drink options.
In terms of food options, John + Pat Anderson’s Café offers an assortment of sandwiches (both breakfast and lunch), quiches, and desserts. At 11 a.m. every day, the café will swap from its assortment of breakfast sandwiches (like the options available at Global Grounds, such as egg, bacon, and cheese sandwiches) to its selection of lunch sandwiches (with options such as a spinach and ricotta sandwich). Of particular note is the chocolate and hazelnut croissant, which has quickly become a personal favorite of mine. All pastries and sandwiches available at John and Pat Anderson’s Café are made in-house by Illinois Tech Culinary & Hospitality Services through the bakery located in Hermann Hall.
The overall initial impressions from the student community seem to be very positive. A thread on the Illinois Tech Student Community (ITSC) asking for feedback on the new café saw particular attention be paid to the higher coffee quality in comparison to Global Grounds and 10 West, as well as the baristas and their latte art. Capping off the interview with TechNews, one of the café’s baristas as well as its manager, Eli Lindberg, advised that students continue to be on the watch for their tulips, hearts, swans, and other pieces of latte art in the weeks to come.