On Jan. 12, University of Connecticut Dining Services announced that it would be closing its Up and Atom café located in the Biology/Physics Building. In its stead, they would be opening a café in the new Science 1 Research Center, being open for students later in the Spring 2023 semester. The café, named nanoByte café, had its grand opening on Jan. 17 and offers students bubble tea and small dessert “bytes” according to the UConn Dining statement.
Michael White is the new executive director of UConn Dining Services, appointed on Nov. 4 of last year. He spoke about the process and decision-making that went into closing Up and Atom and the many different factors that are considered in deciding how many cafés are open and in which locations.
“There are a few factors … participation, balancing what operations we can effectively operate, and then the proximity between Science 1 and the Gant complex are all considerations for us as we look at how many cafés we should be operating. If budget were not part of the thought process, we could have cafés in many more locations, but knowing we are not adding new participants/customers to the university’s population (students, staff and faculty), we have to make difficult decisions about how many operations make sense in our portfolio,” White said.
When asked about how the unique menu for the café was created, White described the creative process taken primarily by Assistant Director for Culinary Development Robert Landolphi and his work with students and colleagues to create the menu.
“Our Assistant Director for Culinary Development (Landolphi) follows national trends, meets with dining colleagues from around the country, talks with students, teaches an FYE class and hosts numerous student groups though the Cultural Centers on campus. The feedback he receives in all of these interactions plays a role in determining menu development,” White said.
The nanoByte menu features unique options. Their bubble tea comes in a variety of flavors including mango, taro and original with the choice of tapioca or bubbles that come in lychee or mango flavor. The café’s “byte” selection includes a variety of small desserts and cakes ranging from chocolate cake to traditional pastries. In addition, the café offers more traditional lunch items, such as a café sandwich selection, mac and cheese, prepared wraps and salads and coffee.
nanoByte café will be open Monday through Friday this spring semester and will operate between 7:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Visit the UConn Dining Services website for more information.