Carrie’s Cafe is a student-run restaurant on the fourth floor of Pummill Hall ran by students enrolled in HSP 435, also called Hospitality Management. The restaurant opened for the 2022-23 school year on Sept. 22 and is open every Tuesday and Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The restaurant started in the old Professional Building, now the Ann Kampeter Health Sciences Hall, 25 years ago. The current instructor, Wajeana White, has been teaching the course for six years.
At the end of each semester, students create a new menu that students next semester use in the cafe. This year, the menu is Filipino Thai fusion food. For the first week of the semester, students become familiar with the menu, do marketing for the restaurant and prep everything for when the restaurant opens.
Junior Jared Mehrtens is majoring in hospitality management, food and beverage, and has a unique perspective on the menu for this semester.
“It was interesting that we got to work through and develop the menu, and pick a theme that we liked,” said Mehrtens. “If you just take it as a one-semester class, you don’t get to use your menu but it's fun for me that I got to help develop this menu and then execute it. I get to come in as a veteran staff member and help the new students.”
Students are able to take HSP 435 twice, with the credit counting as an elective the second time a student enrolls.
Mehrtens took the class again because he says it reaffirms his desire to own his own restaurant and gives him skills to use in the future.
“There’s a lot of comradery with all the other students,” said Mehrtens. “It's something you don't really get in the other classes.”
White allows the students to gain lots of skills throughout the semester in HSP 435.
“The students operate and manage the restaurant so at the very least, teamwork, problem solving, time management, endurance, prep skills and restaurant management,” said White.
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