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Beyond the coffee shop

University cafe serves food and friendship.

Staff Reporter

Published: Monday, February 27, 2012

Updated: Monday, February 27, 2012 13:02

Cafe worker Sandy Wright serves a made-to-order sandwich to RU student Patrick Givens. Photo by Jame

Photo by James Risley

Cafe worker Sandy Wright serves a made-to-order sandwich to RU student Patrick Givens.

Cafe options range from coffee to chef salad to chicken noodle soup. Photo by James Risley

Photo by James Risley

Cafe options range from coffee to chef salad to chicken noodle soup.

RU student Patrick Givens orders lunch at Java City. Photo by James Risley

Photo by James Risley

RU student Patrick Givens orders lunch at Java City.

Tucked in the far corner of the Auditorium building lobby is a comfort-food haven where students and customers are treated like family by warm and friendly café employees.

"It's important to all of us to treat our customers well," said Sandra Wright, who's been at the café since it opened four years ago, alongside her two colleagues.

These ladies say they have a unique perspective on the Roosevelt community.

"We get everyone across the board here, from the president to all sorts of faculty, the vice president, and students," said Wright.

So what does Roosevelt University vice president, James Gandre, usually order?

"All those guys—Jim, Mike, Steve—come in here for my sandwiches all the time. It's because I make them with love," Wright said with a wide smile and warm laugh.

Administrators aren't the only ones who pay a visit to Java Cafe.

"Students will come down, all stressed out, and …talk to us," Wright added.

Wright, who has more than 25 years in the hospitality and customer service industries, says she knows a thing or two about making someone's day a little better. Other Java City baristas have had experience in customer service as well, and agree that an important part of the job is to listen.

"We try to make them feel better and feed them or get them some coffee on their break. It's like another counseling center," said Wright.

Ty Roberson, an integrated marketing communications student, comes to the café almost every day. "The ladies who work here always look out for me. It's important to me to try to support the café by coming here," Roberson said.

When he can't decide what to order, he trusts Sandy and other baristas for fun recommendations.

"They've got good taste," he said happily, indicating his soup and sandwich of the day.

The café serves comfort food classics, like chicken noodle soup, chili, turkey sandwiches, mashed potatoes, with various sides and salads also on offer. Students get a ten percent discount on everything in both Java City and the sandwich shop. The café also has daily specials like spaghetti and meatballs and monthly themes, like Mardi Gras.

Wright says she's a shoulder to lean on and an ear to listen. She cares about their hearts, while, of course, still remembering their tummies.

"If the kids are hungry…I'll still feed them," she says.

The Java café is open Monday to Friday from 10:30 a.m.- 6:30 p.m.

ETruong@mail.roosevelt.edu

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