Steel Plant Garden Cafe: Grand Opening, Grand Space, Grand Menu

January 28, 2019

With a renovated gym on the way and a brand new fashion building having just been opened, there’s no question that Marist is constantly expanding and improving. The same can be said for Marist Dining, who is following up last year’s grand opening of North End Dining with the introduction of a new cafe in the fashion department’s recently opened Steel Plant facility. Entitled the Steel Plant Garden Cafe, the new location had its grand opening the first day of classes for the spring semester, January 22nd, at 7:30 in the morning. Despite its cafe title, this new retail facility is not your run-of-the-mill Starbucks. Featuring locally roasted fair trade coffee, an assortment of new wraps and sandwiches, and the same soups, freshly baked goods and snacks that you know and love, the Steel Plant Garden Cafe is a fresh new take on the Marist retail experience. The coffee, provided by North River Roasters, is fair trade and organic, and provide detailed descriptions of the exact origins of their coffee beans. Each barrel of coffee beans, hidden right beneath the counter, is labeled with the country of origin of the beans used for each roast. The grand opening of the Steel Plant Garden Cafe featured roasts with beans from three different countries - Uganda, Colombia, and Timor. The Timor roast was decaf, for those not looking to get hit with the caffeine jitters. The Ugandan beans provided a lighter roast with a milder taste, while the Colombian brew proved to be darker and stronger. The origins of the beans will change each month, as new shipments of coffee beans arrive from North River Roasters. Not only is the coffee high quality, but it also allows Marist Dining to support local companies. North River Roasters was founded in 2015 by Feza Oktay, who was inspired to begin roasting coffee at home when his daughter became a barista at a local coffee shop. Now, North River Roasters is a central coffee provider for the community, including Vassar College’s Bridge Cafe, the Culinary Institute of America’s Apple Pie Bakery Cafe and Post Road Brew House, Adams Fairacre Farms on Route 9, and more. They roast in the renovated Poughkeepsie Underwear Factory in the heart of downtown Poughkeepsie. North River Roasters’ fresh, organic coffee is not the only new part of the menu at the Steel Plant Garden Cafe. It also features Spacey Tracy’s Gourmet Pickles, another company located locally in Rhinebeck, New York, along with quiches, breakfast sandwiches, and brand new nitro cold brew coffee. The Steel Plant Garden Cafe introduced fabulous new menu options to Marist’s student body, and also matches the modern aesthetic prominent throughout the whole Steel Plant building. Complete with wooden tables, steel accents, and massive windows, the cafe allows in plenty of natural light and tons of outlets to accommodate plugging in and working hard. Students are already loving the light, bright, and convenient environment. “I think it’s beautiful,” said Lydia DeLuca, ‘20. “It’s a very nice environment to work in. I have a couple classes in this building so I’ll be in here a lot!” Tony Cabral, ‘21, felt the same way. “The new dining facility is a breath of fresh air for Marist. It’s contemporary, modern, and innovative, and I think it’s necessary on campus. I’m so happy to be one of the first classes to get to experience it!” The Steel Plant Garden Cafe is open 7:30am-9:30pm Monday through Thursday, and 7:30am-5:00pm on Fridays. Many of the new menu options are part of the Pick Three offering, and everything else can be purchased a la carte. Make sure to stop in and take advantage of all the delicious additions to Marist’s cuisine! by Celeste Gigliotti