Global Market Café planning committee holds community feedback event

Interactive event allows students, faculty and staff weigh-in on future dining hall


Rainy Liu is excited about the Global Market Café because she thinks it will give international students a taste of home.

More than 1,200 students, faculty and staff participated in four different focus groups in SU 228 Wednesday. Participants sampled dishes that reflect potential menu options for the Global Market Café. After enjoying their food samples, participants had the option of completing a survey about the cafe, its design and potential menu options. Graham Hammill, vice provost for Graduate Education and project director for the Global Market Café said 646 surveys were completed.

The Global Market Café is a new global-inspired dining hall currently in the design phase. The project is expected to be completed in March 2020. The cafe will be a diverse dining location, not just in terms of the cuisine offered, but also in terms of its unique, multifaceted layout. The cafe will offer quiet areas, group areas, team areas as well as outdoor seating and landscaping, according to Peter McCarthy, an architect working on the project.

Another goal of the cafe is to help students find their way around campus. Luke Johnson, an architect for the project and UB alum, said he struggled to find the entrance to Capen Hall during his freshman year. The Global Market Café aims to eliminate this confusion and provide a clear entrance not just to Capen, but the campus at large. The architects touted it as the “front door” to North Campus.

Siddharth Sharma, a graduate student in computer science, was impressed by the chicken biryani, a traditional Indian dish and one of the food samples offered. Sharma is from India and he felt the dish was authentically prepared.

“The kind of rice and spice level, I feel like it is really the authentic flavor,” Sharma said. “There are other places on campus that have the chicken biryani but they don’t have the proper rice or they don’t follow the proper procedure when they make it.”

He thinks the Global Market Café will be a good addition to campus because it will give international students a taste of food they would have at home.

“If you’re feeling homesick you can go have your favorite food. People can have their food from their home,” Sharma said.

Ralph Jeune, a sophomore intended pharmacy student, tried the open-faced carnitas with arbol sauce.

“It’s like bread and pork chop with lots of onion on top,” Jeune said.

He said he’s never had anything like it before, but he liked it because it reminded him of the type of food his Puerto Rican aunt cooks for him.

Jeune is from Haiti and would like to see Caribbean-inspired dishes at the Global Market Café.

“Rice and beans with chicken and goat sauce is the main kind of food we like in the Caribbean,” Jeune said. “And the way we make mac and cheese is like way different. We use mayo sometimes, goat cheese, for a variety.”

While Jeune hopes to see menu options from his culture, he is also excited about having more food options in general.

“Pretty much all you see on campus is like pizza, and I’m tired of that. I would like food that tastes good and is maybe even from my culture,” Jeune said.

Liu, a freshman international studies major, enjoys sushi but doesn’t go to the campus sushi places because the lines are too long. She hopes the introduction of a sushi option at the Global Market Café will reduce some of the congestion at the other sushi places on campus so she can get her favorite dish without having to stand in long lines.

“I like the idea of having different country’s food because there’s a lot of people at UB from all different places around the world,” Liu said. “So I feel like it would be good for them to have a taste of home.”

Hammill was pleased with the turnout of the event.

“Faculty, staff and students came and gave their input, and that’s exactly what we wanted so I couldn’t be happier,” Hammill said. “People have been really thoughtful about food choice and about design and the kinds of ways that they would want to use the facility and the space.”

Maddy Fowler is a news editor and can be reached at