Grand opening of Hub Cafe brings fresh, local produce to students

As you walk through Ryerson’s newly-renovated Hub Cafe, you can see buckets full of freshly-picked fruit, hear the sizzling sound of bacon frying on a grill, and smell freshly baked butter tarts.

The big reveal came after $840,000 worth of renovations. The Hub Cafe is part of a larger initiative by Ryerson Eats, promoting fresh Ontario-sourced food for the campus community.

For Assistant Director of Food Services and Executive Chef, Joshna Maharaj, the cafeteria is a dream come true.

“I never thought that this early in my career, I would be in a place where we have the freedom to devote an entire physical space to celebrate local food,” she says.

Following the end of Ryerson’s rocky relationship with the previous food service provider Aramark Canada Ltd, Maharaj was brought on in August 2013, to lead what Ryerson vice-president, Julia Hanigsberg, referred to as “A new era of food at Ryerson.”

At the grand opening, Sheldon Levy, President of Ryerson, was among a few members of Ryerson staff and faculty that signed a pledge to support a Ryerson Eats campaign to “go local and to purchase a minimum of 25 per cent local, sustainably-sourced food for the Ryerson community.”

“Food is about family,” Levy said in his opening remarks. “The better the food, the better the family.”

Ryerson’s goal to improve food services on campus has been getting a lot of attention and, for the first time in years, it’s for the right reasons. In fact, Maharaj’s ideas to turn around the school’s cafeterias were featured in The Globe and Mail recently.

Part of her vision for the Hub Cafe included creating a space that was as free of brands as possible and she believes they have achieved that.

“The smells and the sights bring you in as opposed to corporate brands,” she says. “The food is colourful, fresh and enticing all on its own.”

There are eight food stations in the Hub Cafe and if long line-ups are any indication, many of the meal options have already proven themselves popular.

All day breakfast has returned to The Grill station with a regular meal priced at $5.

Students can grab The Eggy, a $2 egg and cheese breakfast sandwich on an English muffin from 8:30-10:30 a.m.

In an effort to remain affordable for students and to beat the off-campus competition, most lunchtime meals at the Hub Cafe are $5.

This includes a build your own sandwich or salad station called Greens and Grains. The station features local organic whole-grain bread and fresh ingredients like hummus and avocado.

Another popular station is the BYOB – Build Your Own Bowl, where students can load up their rice, noodles or pasta with as many veggies as they can and stay within the $5 budget.

The Ryerson Eats website has menus from all over campus for healthy, student-friendly meals including the Hub Cafe menu.

Check out the meal station timings and other Ryerson Eats locations.

The Hub Cafe is located on the first floor of Jorgenson hall by the Gerrard Street entrance.

President Sheldon Levy and  Julia Hanigsberg cutting the grand opening tape to the Hub Cafe while spectators watch.

President Sheldon Levy and Julia Hanigsberg cut the grand opening tape at the Hub Cafe Wednesday. (Ramna Shahzad, Ryersonian Staff)


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