What’s Up With: The College Grind cafe in Holmes


Sean Reed

The College Grind, a closed coffee shop, sits on the second level of the Holmes Student Center. (Sean Reed | Northern Star)

By Joseph Howerton and Evan Mellon

Editor’s note: This piece is the first story in the Northern Star’s new series: “What’s Up With?” You can fill out a submission form here for potential coverage.

On an ordinary day, the College Grind, a cafe in the Holmes Student Center, is filled with students on computers, either their own laptops or the attached computer lab, relaxing and studying. However, the cafe itself is still closed, with signs promising now absent flatbread and coffee.


The College Grind resides on the main floor of the Holmes Student Center. The original concept for the space was as a multipurpose area with a lounge, computer lab and coffee shop meant for students to study, eat, socialize or just rest, according to Daniel Koenen, executive director for Campus Dining Services.

Koenen said the College Grind finally closed after renovations to the HSC in the fall of 2019, which added new spaces and several new restaurants, including a Starbucks.

“The College Grind, with the new locations opening on the ground floor, we decided not to open it again,” Koenen said. “We have a Starbucks downstairs, so a coffee shop doesn’t really work. It would be redundant.”

According to Koenen, there aren’t any future plans for the space.

“Right now, there’s no plans to use it for a dining operation,” Koenen said. “From a capacity standpoint, we have enough locations on campus to meet the needs of people of the campus community.”

The HSC administration also does not have any plans to change the space.

“We currently do not have plans to use the space,” said Jennifer Manning, executive director of the Holmes Student Center. “We have not been approached by any other parties about using the space.”

As of now, the space is still open to students, staff and faculty to use as a study place or rest area, with plenty of space, wall outlets and even a quiet area with public computers to use. However, students have other options for study areas; and given the closure of the cafe, may not be aware of the space’s use.

“I mainly study in my room or in the library with friends, so I’ve never gone there myself,” Blake Howle, a first-year mechanical engineering major.

Howle did express that it would be more convenient for the study area to serve food so students wouldn’t have to move from one area of the center to another.

“I mean, it seems good right now as a study room,” Howle said. “But I mean, if the cafe would open again, I can say that would be nice because Starbucks is easy for people to always go there, I know.”