OptiKale and Peet’s Coffee have become the new buzz for students and faculty.
OptiKale — in Goergen Hall — serves made-to-order broth and salad bowls, and Peet’s Coffee — in Wegmans Hall — is a coffee and pastry shop.
Since their openings, both establishments have brought in long lines and positive reviews.
“I am a vegan so it’s really nice to have more options for me to choose from,” sophomore Courtney Hale said of OptiKale. “The only thing that I’m not a fan of is that they don’t have too many dressing options, especially if you don’t like vinaigrettes.”
A few students critiqued the salads as flavorless, but other students loved having the ability to make their own soups.
“The soups are my go-to order […] I enjoyed the flavors of the chicken broth as well as the toppings they let you put in it — especially the avocado,” sophomore Skye Waipa said. “It just tastes healthier than what was previously available on campus.”
OptiKale replaced Pura Vida, the former Goergen coffee shop, when Peet’s Coffee opened in Wegmans Hall in April.
“We had a very under-served market as far as complete meal solutions go over on the science quad,” Director of Marketing and Strategic Growth David Feist said. “We knew that we were putting a Peet’s close by to fill that coffee void that Pura Vida was going to leave.”
OptiKale’s menu offers a bowl containing two bases, four toppings, a protein if desired, cheese, and dressing or broth. Customers can choose from a variety of vegetables, meats, legumes, and noodles. Many of the products are organic and obtained from local farms.
According to Dustin Peterson, dining operations manager, the utensils are compostable and the bowls are plant-based.
You can walk from OptiKale to Peet’s in about a minute.
“They have really good cold-brew,” freshman Chris Penman, who goes to Peet’s three times a week, said. “It’s not too bitter, and it goes down really easy. I think it’s better than any of the other coffee shops on campus.”
Steve Kleene, a math professor, goes to Peet’s almost every day to enjoy his two-shot Americano filled half-way up.
“It’s good coffee,” Kleene said. “It’s got a nice robust taste that’s not burnt. I lived in Boston for a while, and I went to Peet’s there. They should have another one on campus.”
Junior Mahwish Hamayun praised the jasmine tea, saying the flavors and smell reminded her of roses from a Pakistani temple.
According to Feist, Dining Services made the decision to shut down Pura Vida because it wanted more support from the brand and a more-recognized name.
“Peet’s gives us what a lot of brands don’t,” Schauf said. “They let us use their brand and their name, but also give us the freedom to make decisions that don’t have anything to do with their brand.”
Dining Services can provide its own pastries and sandwiches at Peet’s Coffee. It can have seasonal offers and special promotions on its own terms, and they have more room to replace, add, or subtract an item based on students’ suggestions.
One complaint some students and faculty have about Peet’s Coffee is the lack of people working, especially during peak hours.
“They don’t really have a lot of people back there so they get overwhelmed sometimes with the long lines,” Penman said. “But I think they do a pretty good job, given how busy they are.”