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Crane Cafe changes management, offers international feel

SungEun Jung / Lantern photographer

Although the name stayed the same, the management of the Crane Cafe in Hagerty Hall has changed. The change was sought out by faculty, but some coffee-enthusiasts haven’t welcomed it.
The cafe, which was previously operated by Java Master, independent from Ohio State, was taken over by Campus Grinds in June.
Campus Grinds, an operation of University Residences and Dining Services, runs several coffee and pre-made food stops on campus including the Berry Cafe in William Oxley Thompson Memorial Library, the Terra Byte Cafe inside the Science and Engineering Library and KSA Cafe in the Knowlton School of Architecture.
Hagerty Hall houses the Foreign Language Center and Department of Comparative Studies. Kathy Grant, operations manager at Campus Grinds, said the department inspired an international theme in the cafe.
“We want it to be like if you were to go to a foreign country and visit a market,” Grant said, “with the fruit baskets, the coffee, just the whole feel.”
The cafe features different international specials each week, such as chicken naan, pita pizza and noodle bowls with various toppings, Grant said.
The coffee and desserts are also internationally inspired.
“The coffee that we offer here (is) from various regions of the world,” Grant said. “The desserts are different as well. We carry cannolis, baklava, cream puffs.”
Diane Birckbichler, director of the Foreign Language Center, said she is “delighted” to have Campus Grinds managing the cafe. She said the cafe’s new look and international menu “appeals to students and faculty alike.”
Grant said the faculty working in Hagerty Hall sought out Campus Grinds to take over operation of the Crane Cafe.
“I think they saw what we were doing at KSA Cafe in Knowlton and they had also visited Berry Cafe and liked what we were doing,” Grant said.
Crane Cafe serves Starbucks coffee, which Grant thinks will make the cafe appealing and also hopes customers will like “the variety of the menu and the feel of the place.”
“I liked the feel. It seemed just more like a real coffee shop,” said Madison Boyer, a second-year in linguistics and French.
However, Brad Hilgert, a graduate student in Spanish and Portuguese, said he isn’t happy with all the changes.
“I liked the fact that it was a local owner,” Hilgert said. “I’m not super thrilled that they’re serving Starbucks coffee.”
Previously, the Crane Cafe accepted BuckID cash but was not part of the meal plan and did not accept swipes. Now, it’s part of the University Residences and Dining Services meal plan and accepts blocks. This makes the cafe more appealing to some students.
Madeline Hying, second-year in industrial engineering, said she likes the new cafe operation better and did not previously go to the cafe before because they didn’t accept her meal plan.
Grant said the cafe will have a grand opening soon. Although the date hasn’t been confirmed, Grant said she’s considering Sept. 19.

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