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Monday, September 25, 2023
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One World Café opens its doors to students

Study area opened last week, dining area to follow in March

<p>One World Café will open two eateries — Kali Orexi and Tikka Table — to the public in March.</p>

One World Café will open two eateries — Kali Orexi and Tikka Table — to the public in March.

Three years ago, then-Vice Provost for Academic Affairs Graham Hammill envisioned One World Café as “much more than a place to eat.” Last Monday, UB opened the newly-constructed café to students — with exactly that goal in mind.

When students arrived on campus for the start of the spring semester, they were greeted by ample seating space and occasional food tasting events. But the café’s five eateries won’t open until at least March, when the multicultural dining center will undergo a “soft opening,” according to the university. That means students have been using the space for other reasons this week,: namely, for studying and socializing.

“From the first couple of days we opened it it has been very, very well received,” Eric Blackledge, executive director of Campus Dining & Shops, told The Spectrum in an email. “At 7 a.m. on that Monday when it opened there were students here already just hanging out. I’m glad to see they are enjoying it because that’s why we’re here — that’s what it’s all about.”

Hanah Jones, a freshman exercise science major, says the new space has a cleaner, less congested feel.

“I watched them build it last semester, but knowing that it’s here now, I think I like it a lot more than studying in any other room,” Jones said. “It’s not too loud. It’s not too quiet. And the room is very vibey.”

Christopher Kakis, a sophomore aerospace engineering major, says the café “provides more options” and will likely “reduce congestion in the SU [Student Union].” SU eateries have been marked by long lines and early closures since last semester, as the result of a nationwide hiring shortage and supply chain issues. 


Students used One World Café as a study spot during the first week of classes.

Kakis also wonders about the effect the construction has had on neighboring buildings.

“It’s a nice renovation, it looks new, but there’s a bunch of classrooms that are tattered and torn in Talbert [Hall],” Kakis said. “Some classrooms aren’t so nice so I wonder if that was the best approach.”

UB plans on handing out 300-500 free food samples every Tuesday, beginning at 2 p.m. These events, called “Tasting Tuesdays,” will grant students the ability to try menu items and direct culinary questions directly to the chefs.

“Touring Thursdays” will allow students who are interested to take a step inside the café. Every Thursday, Campus Dining & Shops will run two tours — one at 1:45 p.m. and one at 2 p.m. — that will showcase the back of the house and the café’s “composting operations.” The 30-minute tours will commence at the fireplace. Reservations are not required.

Dasia Cervi, a third-year English major, says the fireplace adds a calming element to the new facility.

“It’s pretty cool in here, it looks like it would be from a movie,” Cervi said. “The fireplace is a nice touch.”

One World Café features hard and soft seating areas, 250 charging outlets, open-light study spaces and more. But the cosmetic changes haven’t been without confusion; students have described having trouble finding rooms because of the shift.

“I didn’t feel like they made the changes they were making accessible to students,” Kirsten Mcgraw, a sophomore chemical and biological engineering major, said. “I actually was just coming here [One World Café] to find Norton Hall. It took me a while.”


Students had varied opinions about One World Café bold architecture.

But not everyone had a positive first impression of the new café. Some students, like sophomore English major Alex Novak, felt the launch was underwhelming.

“They made it seem like it was gonna be really cool and I pictured something more vibrant and colorful, but it’s plain like the library,” he said. “It’s modern, but a little too modern — put a big mural or painting somewhere.”

A number of students told The Spectrum that the café will give them a much-needed central location to eat and do work. UB is calling the building the “front door” of the campus.

“It has been great seeing so much energy and activity in One World during the opening week of campus,” Brian Hamluk, vice president for Student Life, said. “As the semester moves on and we fully settle in, I am certain that satisfaction will only grow.”

Jack Porcari is a senior news/features editor and can be reached at

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Jack Porcari is a senior news/features editor at The Spectrum. He is a political science major with a minor in journalism. Aside from writing and editing, he enjoys playing piano, flow arts, reptiles and activism. 



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