Cascades Cafe reopens after almost yearlong staff shortage

Students+sit+in+front+of+Cascades+Cafe+Feb.+14%2C+2022.+

Jenna Guzman

Students sit in front of Cascades Cafe Feb. 14, 2022.

Jenna Guzman, Reporter

Cascades Cafe in Plemmons Student Union reopened Monday after being closed since the beginning of the academic year.

The popular dining location shut down due to a staff shortage last year. Stan Chamberlain, executive sous chef, said Cascades is reopening because it finally has enough staff.

“Campus Dining is very excited about reopening Cascades Cafe as a dining destination for all Appalachian students, faculty and staff. As the cafe returns to regular operations, we ask customers to bear in mind we are training new staff and ask for their patience,” wrote Pam Cline, director of Campus Dining.

Campus Dining supervisor, Sam Mooney said some of the location’s operations have changed. Some of the implemented changes are:

  • The location includes more self-serve options.
  • Grains ‘n’ Greens — a full service build your own salad and grain bowl — will not be available yet.
  • The new hours are 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Mooney said Cascades will still have full service at the sandwich bar and the smoothie bar. 

“We’re trying to make it a lot less labor intensive to help ease the fact that we still don’t have a lot of staff in there,” Mooney said.

Mooney said Campus Dining lost about 40% of its staff during the COVID-19 pandemic. Given the number of workers Campus Dining had at the beginning of the school year, locations such as Crossroads, The Wired Scholar and Roess Dining Hall were prioritized for staffing so those locations could operate at the beginning of the academic year.

“Everybody was pushing. We always intended to reopen, but we just couldn’t do it,” Mooney said.

The student union was filled with students dining in front of Cascades for the first time, Monday.

“I think it’s pretty convenient that it has qualities like a cafeteria would have, like the sandwiches and salads and yogurts and stuff, and it’s really good for on the go stuff,” said Ace Cruz, a freshman marketing major. 

Cascades is known for its vegetarian and vegan options, and is the only dining option located in the union besides McAlister’s Deli, which is closed because of staff shortages. 

“It’s very exciting,” said Taylor Hand, a freshman art and visual culture major. “It’s very easy for me to walk over here compared to central.”