Steel Plant Garden Café Opens, Boasting Locally Sourced Inventory
Steel Plant Garden Café had its grand opening the first day of classes for the spring semester, Jan. 22, at 7:30 a.m., welcoming the students inhabiting the new Steel Plant facility and its widely-embraced modern aesthetic.
Despite its café title, this new retail facility is not your run-of-the-mill Starbucks. It features locally-roasted fair trade coffee, an assortment of new wraps and sandwiches, and the same soups, freshly-baked goods, and snacks offered at other eateries around campus.
The café’s opening seems to resonate with the plethora of renovations that Marist has seen over recent years. It follows the lead of Marist Dining developments with last year’s grand opening of North End Dining.
The coffee, provided by North River Roasters, is fair trade and organic, and is labeled with the country of origin of the beans used for each roast. The grand opening of the Steel Plant Garden Café 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.
The local business 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, it’s a central coffee provider for the community, including Vassar College’s Bridge Café, the Culinary Institute of America’s Apple Pie Bakery Café 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 Café. It also features Spacey Tracy’s Gourmet Pickles, another company located nearby in Rhinebeck, N.Y., along with quiches, breakfast sandwiches, and nitro cold brew coffee.
The café’s diverse menu options seem to correlate with the modern aesthetic of the whole Steel Plant building. Complete with wooden tables, steel accents, and massive windows, the café allows in plenty of natural light and outlets to accommodate plugging in and working hard.
“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 Café is open from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Fridays. Many of the new menu options are part of the Pick Three offering, and everything else can be purchased à la carte.