The popular Forbes Family Café on the Student Street in the Ray and Maria Stata Center (Buliding 32) will undergo renovations this summer and reopen with new dining concepts, an expanded coffee bar, and more registers to simplify checkout.
“The café has been very popular with students, faculty, staff, and curious visitors who want to experience the Stata Center,” says Henry Humphreys, senior associate dean in the Division of Student Life. “The updates will introduce some regional flavor and features that are distinctly MIT.”
The renovated café will offer a New England diner station with regionally inspired comfort foods. Café patrons and MIT community members who work in the Stata Center also told the dining department that they wanted a salad bar. “So we’re planning a salad bar that is second-to-none on campus,” Humphreys says.
Another customer request was coffee, coffee, and more coffee. So for the duration of the project, MIT Dining will have a coffee bar open serving Starbucks products and grab-and-go meals. About halfway through the project, the coffee bar will move from the café area to an adjacent kiosk that was previously managed by MIT Libraries.
Another unique architectural feature is the inclusion of tile work from Artaic, a Boston-based specialty tile manufacturer and fabricator led by Ted Acworth, a former Sloan Fellow in Innovation and Global Leadership. Acworth fell in love with mosaic as an art form while traveling in Europe according to a 2013 Wired article. However, he envisioned the complex designs — which are essentially bitmaps writ large — as being assembled by a robot.
A more mundane but important feature is updated traffic flow with more registers. It was not unusual for lines of café customers waiting to pay for their meals to snake out into the Stata Student Street.
The café will close at the end of business on Friday, June 5, with work slated to start the following Monday. Construction will take place between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. Questions related to construction can be addressed to William Mackie, project manager in MIT’s Department of Facilities. Questions about food service can be addressed to Naomi Carton, associate dean for Residential Life and Dining. In the meantime, Stata community members are encouraged to check out the numerous options for dining on campus.
“Our expectation is to reopen the enhanced café before the fall semester starts,” Humphreys adds. “The updated café will better cater to customers’ palates, eyes, and busy schedules all at once.”