1826 to Close Doors, Reopen as Event Space / By: Kyle Hamrick, Editor in Chief
As students prepare to welcome Chick-fil-A and Einstein Bros. Bagels to a renovated Commons in the Fall 2020 semester, another campus favorite will be gone by the end of this semester — 1826.
According to Mike Prince, Director of Food Services, 1826, the beloved cafe on the Piazza, will close its doors “for good” as a restaurant in May. However, 1826 will reopen at a later date as a venue for campus meetings and events.
“This multi-use meeting room,” said Dr. Steve Stanford, Vice President for Administration and Government Relations, “will offer space available to be reserved for meetings, special guest lectures, catered meetings and events, receptions for the entire campus, including student organizations.”
The area will maintain the kitchen space and use it as a catering service for events in the new venue. Like B.C. Rogers, Nelson Hall, and Alumni Hall, the new event space will be managed by Event Services personnel.
While the concept is established and clear, there are several details which remain unclear and require further attention.
“The budget of the overall project will be a factor in addressing this new meeting space, so its design has yet to be finalized,” said Stanford. In tandem with creating a design and floor plan comes the determination of a maximum occupancy to get the most out of the space and meet safety regulations. As such, Event Services will not begin taking reservations for the new venue until those questions are answered.
“I anticipate that consideration will also be given to re-naming the space,” said Stanford, “although it might retain its 1826 name initially.”
Stanford is confident these details will be resolved to best transition 1826 into the future. He expects the venue will be available to the campus in the fall of 2020.
Yet students are divided over the change. The excitement for the new eating places being built in Alumni Hall is palpable, but so is the sense of loss.
“Since they are bringing in Chick-fil-A and Einstein’s in the fall, I don’t think as many people would have gone to 1826 as usual,” said sophomore Aslan Anthony. While he will miss the buffalo ranch fries, Anthony believes he and the rest of the student body will recover.
Ellen Quinn, sophomore, said she is sad to hear 1826 will be closing in May. “It’s specific to MC and has always been my go to when I don’t want to go to the Caf.”
“I support it because there is a replacement with Chick-fil-A and Einstein Bros. Bagels,” said freshman Diana Peter. “It will definitely be a loss, but I’m glad that we will still have options — and in my opinion, better ones!”
Junior Luke Williams believes the decision takes away the best food option on campus. “Why can’t they keep something that’s good?” he asked.
1826 has served generations of students since 1997. Originally opened as Hampstead’s, the eatery has undergone many changes, from a brief stint as Sky Ranch with an open toppings line for grilled sandwiches, to a menu serving sliders underneath a massive fan.
Once again, 1826 is entering uncharted territory. But no matter what the future holds, the beloved cafe on the Piazza will live on as an MC icon.
Photo Creds: Hayes Daugherty