Java Pura opens in the BRC
Students and workers who spend time in the BioScience Research Collaborative now have the opportunity to caffeinate themselves at the building's new coffee shop Java Pura which opened Monday.
The coffee shop offers sandwiches, soups, salad and pastries in addition to many types of coffee. Its current hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Java Pura is the newest step in efforts to offer food service in the BRC, Rice Project and Contract Manager Carol Claverie said. A survey of BRC tenants, conducted in summer 2010, collected food preferences data. In February, the Steering Committee, made of Housing and Dining and BRC tenants, received the go-ahead to build a coffee shop.
Originally, fresh-food vending machines were installed in the building. The South Servery prepared fresh food daily, which was then transported to the BRC to stock vending machines, which supplied juices, yogurt, snacks, sandwiches and vegetarian options.
The Steering Committee, who determined which business to hire, identified six potential operators. Claverie said the final decision was determined by site visits, interviews with the businesses, the business backgrounds of the coffee shops and sampling of food items. She said Java Pura stood out because of its roasters, beans and fair trade policy.
Initially, the committee approached the Rice Coffeehouse as a potential operator for a coffee shop. However, Coffeehouse opted to decline, Communications Manager for Facilities Engineering and Planning Susann Glenn said.
"At the time, the Coffeehouse was planning on expanding their space, so they decided to focus their efforts on catering on campus," Glenn said.
With the opening of their new space in the RMC, Coffeehouse General Manager Christine Cooper said it would have been too difficult for the student group to run a second coffee shop.
"The expectations for what they wanted out of the space had changed a lot over the course of the negotiations but hadn't kept coffeehouse involved," Cooper said.
The BRC wanted a company that could cater luncheons for over 100 people's sandwiches, Cooper said.
"That's not in Coffeehouse's scope," Cooper said. "It's not in our business model to be making lunches on top of running a coffee shop. It was a mutual parting of ways because they had clearly changed what they wanted for that space."
Java Pura is making efforts to establish a good rapport with the BRC tenants and the students who work there. For example, the coffee shop was unable to open as initially planned during the first week of classes, but Java Pura set up a small coffee stand in the cafe and gave out free coffee, Glenn said.
Glenn said she hopes the opening of Java Pura will give the tenants in the BRC another collaborative space.
"The intention of having a hub in the BRC was to give people the opportunity to interact in one space, and the cafe will probably serve as a similar space."
In the few days it has been open, Java Pura appears to have made a positive impression on the BRC tenants.
Principal Investigator of Bennett Lab George Bennett said the new coffee shop is small and convenient.
"It's nice to have a coffee shop in the building," Bennett said. "It's certainly better than the vending machines."
More from The Rice Thresher
Most courses will shift to in-person instruction on Jan. 24, according to an announcement from Provost Reginald DesRoches and Chair of the Crisis Management Advisory Committee Kevin Kirby. Restrictions on indoor dining and drinking may continue for two more weeks, Kirby and Dean of Undergraduates Bridget Gorman said.
Josephine Abercrombie, namesake for the Abercrombie Lab at Rice, passed away at the age of 95 on Jan. 5 at her home in Kentucky.
The search to fill three prominent vacancies in Rice administration is currently ongoing. General Counsel Richard Zansitis retired at the start of this semester after 21 years in his role. Vice Provost for Research Yousif Shamoo will also be stepping down this month, and Provost Reginald DesRoches will leave his position later this summer to begin his tenure as Rice’s eight president.