New Eateries in Student Center To Replace Courses, Toscanini’s
The Alpine Bagel Co. and Arrow Street Crepes will soon be among the dining options available at the Student Center. Both will accept the MIT card for payment, as will LaVerde’s Market.
Alpine will move into the space currently occupied by Courses Restaurant. MIT will be the company’s tenth location, joining others in Tennessee, Virginia, and North Carolina.
Chris Sullivan, an Alpine representative, described the company as “a special cafe-bakery-bagel concept. At MIT, we’ll [also] have a large grill menu” and pizza.
“Better than 50 percent of what’s sold at Courses is burgers,” said Director of Campus Dining Richard D. Berlin III. “Alpine has a larger breadth ... and healthier food.”
“Our menu is naturally very low in fat,” Sullivan said. Alpine also has “a lot of vegetarian options. That’s another demographic we serve very well,” he said.
Berlin likened Alpine to the food trucks in speed of service. “The line is really long, but only takes three to five minutes,” he said.
Alpine will most likely be open from 7 a.m. to midnight daily, Sullivan said.
Courses will close after commencement, and renovations will take place over the summer. Alpine is scheduled to open on Sept. 1.
Creperie comes to MIT
Arrow Street Crepes will most likely open a new store in the space currently leased by Toscanini’s Ice Cream, Berlin said.
MIT is currently working on an agreement with the creperie, and Berlin estimated that a deal would be reached before the end of the month. “I don’t expect any major stumbling blocks,” he said.
Arrow Street Crepes would also sell ice cream purchased from Toscanini’s. The company has already reached such an agreement with Toscanini’s, Berlin said.
“Toscanini’s ice cream will still be there,” he said. “I don’t know if they will have as many flavors.”
Arrow Street Crepes’ contract with MIT would be substantially different from that of Toscanini’s. With Arrow Street Crepes, MIT would have several additional responsibilities, including to “make sure the store is clean” and to “approve menus and pricing,” Berlin said.
Like Courses, Toscanini’s will close after commencement. “Our target is for [Arrow Street Crepes] to be open when students return in the fall,” Berlin said.
A new cafe in Lobby 7 will also likely open by the beginning of the fall term, he said.
More vendors to accept MIT card
Both Arrow Street Crepes and the Alpine Bagel Co. will be part of the MIT meal plan, Berlin said, “creating more options where people can speak with their wallets.”
In addition, LaVerde’s will soon accept the MIT card. “My goal is to have it in and working by the week of finals,” said John M. McDonald, MIT’s assistant director of enterprise services.
“The big issues have all been resolved,” he said. “Now we’re just dealing with the language” of the agreement.
McDonald said he was also working on getting The Coop to accept the MIT card.
Additionally, MIT has recently signed an agreement with a third party for online account management, McDonald said. Students will be able to check their balances online and add money to their accounts by credit card, McDonald said.
“Parents will be able to put money on it, but not see the [account’s] activity,” he said.
Students mixed on changes
Isaac B. Taylor ’05 said he eats at Courses twice a day. “I like the food here, and I have a meal plan, so I might as well use it,” he said.
“If LaVerde’s took the card, I would eat there, too,” he said. “I’d probably split my time. I’d get breakfast, and I’d probably buy my groceries there, too.”
Taylor said he would be disappointed to see Courses close, “but if LaVerde’s takes the card, it’s okay.”
Though he said Arrow Street Crepes “is awesome,” he would “treat it as a dessert place.”
“I know they have healthy crepes, but I wouldn’t get those,” he said.
Thomas R. Covert ’05 said he eats at Courses about once a week because of the restaurant’s convenience.
“For what you’re getting, it’s decent,” he said. “I don’t think anything here is healthy.”
Covert said bringing in Alpine is “probably a good idea. It’ll probably introduce some competition” into the dining system. However, he said he would be disappointed to see Tosci’s leave.
If LaVerde’s accepted the MIT card, Covert said he would be more likely to buy desserts at the store. “I don’t think of [the card] as real money,” he said.
Covert said he “would be more inclined to leave the main building to come eat food” if more vendors accepted the MIT card.
Aneal Krishnan ’02 said he was not sad to see Courses leave. “They can afford to be as rude as they want,” he said, because “students don’t have many choices.”