Venue to Offer Local Options

A food venue to primarily serve local and organic foods will soon replace the Backstage Cafe in Parker Theatre
A food venue to primarily serve local and organic foods will soon replace the Backstage Cafe in Parker Theatre

Campus Auxiliary Service (CAS) administrators will begin preparation for the opening of the Ozone Cafe, an on-campus food venue aimed to serve primarily local and organic food this summer.

The new venue will replace the Backstage Cafe in Parker Theatre in fall 2011 and although ‘‘it will not receive any renovations or interior changes,” General Food Manager of Food Services Ralph Perez-Rogers said the venue will be designed with a specific purpose.

“The idea is to use [the venue] as the area that first and foremost helps support local farmers and the economy,” he said. “We’re going to try to make the Ozone Cafe strictly the one venue on campus that deals with food that is locally grown and sustainable.”

Identified in the master plan survey that students, faculty and staff completed approximately two years ago, SUNY New Paltz administrators created different plans to renovate food venues on campus.

“A lot of students were interested in food service being able to support the local economy and the local farmers more,” said Perez-Rogers.

CAS student representative Jonathan Freifeld said he thinks the cafe will be a great addition to the SUNY New Paltz campus because it will provide students who like to eat organic and locally grown foods with a new place to have meals.

“In another sense it was a place for theater students to hang out before and after class with their friends and I don’t know if that will continue to exist in this new venue,” he said.

Perez-Rogers said whatever needs to be accommodated will be done accordingly and the needs of the majority will be addressed if needed.

Although bringing more local food on campus made up a small part of the survey participants, no buying group, according to Perez-Rogers was a majority. Therefore, he said CAS is trying to address all buying segments such as commuters, on-campus students and traditional, convenient value shoppers.

Perez-Rogers said the venue might undergo renovation in 2013 but he does not anticipate many changes because the space was renovated two years ago and includes all of the necessary equipment to continue operating.

This summer, administrators will be working on pricing, and what items will be sold in the Ozone Cafe as well as the name of the new cafe. Perez- Rogers encourages students, faculty or staff to contact Student Association representatives, Residence Hall Student Association representatives or CAS Board members with any suggestions, comments or changes they would like to see on the campus.