The social science building/consortium library cafe is under new management by Kaladi Brothers Coffee. The cafe will continue to be supervised by NANA Management Services, contracted by UAA Dining Services.
NANA has held UAA’s Dining Services contract since 2007 after the university chose not to renew Aramark’s food service contract with the university.
Dining Services General Manager Scott Evers explained his dedication to serve campus through the new cafe.
“We are really excited about our expanded partnership with Kaladi Brothers and the new cafe on campus,” said Evers. We’re Alaskans serving Alaskans.”
Dale Tran, chief operating officer at Kaladi Brothers Coffee, said, “We take a different approach to coffee; we have more of a hands-on, artisan approach than Starbucks, and I think that students will really respond to that. We just to be a part of students’ lives. Students are at a critical point in their education. We’d like to be a part of that experience.”
Tran said that Kaladi’s has been interested in working with UAA for some time and is very satisfied with the new agreement.
“This is a joint decision between the university’s management and the food services contract. We’ve always wanted to be here, and now it looked like the time was right,” said Tran. “We have stood readily by over the years for any opportunity that may arise, and we fought tooth and nail to get our foot in the door.”
The new Kaladi cafe will not affect the use of Kaladi’s brand coffee at other locations around the Anchorage campus.
“Historically NANA management has used Kaladi’s coffee at the Union Station, Bear Necessities and the Spirit Express and will continue to do so,” said Tran.
Tran highlighted the local, community-minded aspect of Kaladi as an added benefit of the new management.
“We can achieve much more than just selling coffee. We support community events, such as the Haunted Halloween Fun Night, that maybe a national franchise could not,” said Tran. “That was an opportunity that we undertook to support the local community. Our slogan is ‘catalyst for community,’ and that is exactly what we intend to do.”
Kaladi Brothers Coffee, UAA’s office of student clubs and Greek life, and General Communications Inc., hosted the Halloween Fun Night in 2010 in response to the cancellation of the annual Trick or Treat Town.
Many students have reacted positively to the arrival, expressing excitement at the opportunity to support a local business.
Kitty Mahoney, theatre sophomore, voiced her approval of the new management, highlighting the local, inviting atmosphere.
“I was the head barista for a Kaladi Brothers Coffee stand all summer, so I’m thrilled that they’re now on campus,” said Mahoney. “I feel like Kaladi’s Coffee appeals to a greater audience than Starbucks. I always thought their [Starbucks] coffee had a bitter taste.”
Elysha Fairclough, early childhood education sophomore, echoed Mahoney’s attitude towards the new atmosphere of the Kaladi’s cafe.
“It’s so much more relaxed now. When Starbucks ran the cafe everything seemed so high strung,” said Fairclough. “Now the cafe is somewhere that I would want to spend my time.”
The cafe is open 7:45 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Monday-Thursdays and Fridays from 7:45 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
“Though the cafe in the SSB may not look completely different than Starbucks was, there has been a huge shift that students will notice. The change is in the cup,” said Tran.