Outdoor café serving food and needs

Tuesday, April 21, 2009 | 12:51 p.m. CDT; updated 1:02 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Lucas Naeger, left, and Matt Castulik arrange ice around chilled bottles of water and cans of soda before the lunch rush at the new University Catering lunch cafe on Carnahan Quad on April 1. The outdoor tent is staffed by employees of University Catering, which is located in Reynolds Alumni Center.

COLUMBIA – The Outdoor Soup and Sandwich Café for students, faculty and staff on Carnahan Quad has been serving between 60 and 75 people a day since opening March 4.

The café is open on Wednesdays and Fridays from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in an area  between Hulston Hall and Reynolds Alumni Center.


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University Catering opened the cafe after construction closed some places to eat on the MU campus and UM System President Gary Forsee announced economic cutbacks that affected dining options. 

"I would like to see more (customers), but it shows an obvious need on campus and we're stepping up to fulfill that need." University Catering Executive Chef Daniel Pliska said.

“It is basically for faculty, staff and students to receive a value-priced meal,” Pliska said. “We realized with all the construction and economic cutbacks, there is going to be a need for that.”

A large bowl of soup with a roll or half of a sandwich can be purchased for $3, and half of a sandwich and soup costs $5. The café  serves a different sandwich and soup each day it is open. Delivery is available for departments with a minimum order of 10 to 15 sandwiches.

“The soups are signature soups I’ve been serving for years,” Pliska said. “Hearty soups that appeal to the masses. They have won a lot of acclaim from our members and guests.”

Currently, the café is in a trial period until the end of the semester to see whether it can continue in the future.

Pliska said University Catering has received encouragement for going forth with this idea from some in the campus community.

“We’ve had a lot of good feedback about doing this from people in the campus community, especially in the spring time,” Pliska said. “If it proves to be a hit, we will definitely continue it.”

University Catering also wants to be able to recoup the money invested in the café.

“If it does well, it's because of the location on campus and the reputation of our food," Pliska said. "People will be able to get food quickly at a value conscious price.”

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