BY MERYL PHAIR ’21
The Cochary Pub & Kitchen opened on Monday on the first floor of Blanchard Hall. The space, with cozy groupings of brown chairs and a variety of locally sourced organic food, welcomed students back to campus for the fall semester.
“All of the food served in the Cochary Pub & Kitchen will be homemade,” said Rich Perna, Director of Dining Services. “By using as many locally and responsibly sourced ingredients as we can, we are making a commitment to create wholesome, healthy products that benefit the grower, the consumer and the environment alike.”
The locally sourced pub-style dishes are made for students on the spot. “It’s a personalized space,” said Barbara Lafleur, the Coffee Bar/Pub & Catering Supervisor. “You can come in, grab your coffee or meal and have a nice chat with the staff. It’s comfortable.”
In addition, the new facility has a table made from a piece of the wood from a tree that fell down by Wilder Hall last semester.
The Cochary Pub & Kitchen will be serving Teatulia tea and Pierce Brothers coffee, including a nitrogen-infused iced coffee. Both of these companies are USDA-certified organic and fair trade.
“We will have an array of breakfast pastries and desserts. Our famous Chef Jeff cookies will also be available,” said Perna.
The Cochary Pub & Kitchen will also be serving a selection of beer and wine to students over 21 years old. “I’m rattled,” said Victoria Parrish ’19. “They’re serving alcohol on campus?”
Alcoholic drinks must stay in the pub area, but students are free to eat their food anywhere.
The drinks showcase wine from Black Birch Vineyard, located 17 miles from campus, and beer from five New England-based breweries including Stoneman Brewery, located 43 miles from campus. “These businesses also take many steps towards increasing the sustainability of their operations through recycling, composting, utilizing renewable energy and so on,” said Perna. Two of the breweries — Wash Ashore from Martha’s Vineyard, MA and Peak Organic from Portland, ME — are USDA-certified organic.
“Dining Services is proud to support these businesses who have made conscious efforts to create products that are not only delicious, but are also good for the environment, good for the local communities and good for the regional economy,” said Perna.
The new space also includes a “Grab ‘n Go” station located next to the Pub & Kitchen that opened on the first day of classes. Students can purchase four items, including a drink, per meal swipe. Lafleur encourages students to bring their own drink containers to use at the soda machine to limit the use of plastic cups.
Some students who have a restricted amount of time for lunch have high hopes for the Grab ‘n Go. “As a STEM major I’ve always found it difficult to eat lunch on lab days, so having a Grab ‘n Go option is always helpful,” said Julia Swinehart ’21. “Hopefully it’ll also thin out the lunch rush in the Dining Commons, because last semester it took forever to find a seat,” said Swinehart.
According to the Dining Services web page, Grab ‘n Go will feature “local and responsibly-sourced products.” These include such items as ice cream from Maple Valley Creamery, applesauce (made exclusively with New England grown apples) from Fatboy Foods, mushrooms from Giorgio Farms and Dairy from Macray’s, a local South Hadley farm.
“In addition you will find a large line of [USDA] certified organic products; homemade sandwiches, salads and soups; and a variety of gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian options,” said Perna. In addition, there will be a large make-your-own yogurt parfait bar.
The new location will provide more job opportunities for student workers. “The job was offered to specific people who worked in dining last semester as a promotion from working in Blanch,” said Rahael George ’21, who will be working in the cafe this semester. Right now, all the spots are filled, with about 40 student workers who have had past experience with working the cash register and swiping people into the Dining Commons.
The Pub & Kitchen will be open through Friday, Sept. 7, from 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. and will be closed on Sept. 8 and 9. Next week, it will be open during the regular hours of Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to midnight and Saturday and Sunday, 5:30 p.m. to midnight. The Grab ‘n Go station will be open Monday through Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. It will be closed on Saturday and Sunday.
The Cochary Pub & Kitchen will accept cash, credit and MHC Express. The Grab ‘n Go will accept dining dollars and one meal swipe per day. Students with a meal plan are allotted 30 dining dollars per semester, which can be used at any of the three dining locations in the Blanchard Community Center: the Dining Commons, the Cochary Pub & Kitchen and the Grab ‘n Go.
“After seeing Blanch under construction for the past semester it was really cool to see the new cafe space,” said George ’21. “I think it’s nice that students will have more dining options moving forward.”