Atrium Market draws small, satisfied crowds

By Sara Nelson

Serving lighter fare such as sandwiches and soup, the Atrium Market, located on the second floor of the campus center, opened to limited fanfare on Sept. 7.

The café, which is open during lunch when school is in session, averages between 25 and 40 patrons per day, according to employee Harold Baker. About half are students and half are faculty and staff, said Baker, who staffs the Atrium Market every day it is open.

According to Bon Appetit General Manager Lori Hartzell, the idea for the Atrium Market grew out of a survey about lunch options distributed to faculty and staff this summer. Campus Center Director Cindy Darrow and Director of Business and Administrative services Doug Rosenberg administered the survey.

“[The idea] got a large positive response,” Hartzell said.

All items are a la carte and priced individually. The menu for the Atrium Market changes every day, but three sandwich options, two salads and two soups are always available. The Atrium Market also features chips, cookies and Peace Coffee.
Hartzell said the Atrium Market offers an alternative to dining at the Grille or in Café Mac, because of its emphasis on lighter, healthier food options and smaller portions. Consistent with Bon Appetit’s emphasis on eating local, many of the sandwiches contain local produce.

The Market offers no carry-out items, Hartzell said, because Bon Appetit did not want it to compete with the Grille.

Because the Atrium Market has smaller portions than the Grille, Hartzell said, its prices are lower. The café accepts cash, check, auxiliary points and flex dollars, but not credit cards, as payment.

The Atrium Market also features a designated dining room, Campus Center 207, for patrons of the café.

Hartzell admits that business has been slow so far, but she said she thinks that, given time, the concept will catch on.

” [The customers] seem to like it, but it’s still pretty slow,” Hartzell said.

Patrons of the Atrium Market said they appreciate the option it provides.

“I’m glad it’s there,” History Professor David Itzkowitz said. “It would be nice if more people knew and I think the food could be a little better, but it provides a nice alternative for dining.”

Baker, who also works in Café Mac, said he likes the alternative the Atrium Market offers as well.

“It gives me variety in my work,” he said.

Many students, however, are unaware the Atrium Market exists. Alissa Ridenour ’07 who said she has not yet visited the café, is not alone.

“I usually bring my lunch to campus,” Ridenour said. “But I thought it was only open to faculty and staff. Now that I know it’s open to students, maybe I’ll go.”