As the spring 2023 semester began, a dark cloud passed over campus. This cloud was emanating from a notice outside of Gracie’s Cafe, a popular hub on campus, detailing their closure for the whole semester. Students felt lost, abandoned, and hungry. Daily life would not be the same without the generous service of the Gracie’s workers. Despite the initial disappointment and the hard months that followed, the closure of Gracie’s has proved to be worth the wait. Upon the start of the 2023 fall semester, the cafe reopened and is better than ever.
Gracie’s Cafe, situated on the ground floor of the Wallace McCain Student Centre, was inspired by past Mt. A student Grace Annie Lockhart. Lockhart attended Mt. A during the Ladies’ College era, graduating in 1875 as the first woman to receive a bachelor’s degree in the British Empire. This achievement is commemorated at the cafe through wallpapered archival images of the era when Lockhart was a student and a plaque mounted within the Student Centre detailing this piece of history. In partnership with this proud Mt. A legacy, Gracie’s Cafe provides Mt. A students, staff, and anyone passing through a spot to grab a drink or some food, study, catch up with friends, or watch events on the Alumni field.
The return of Gracie’s Cafe was a well-anticipated event. Students’ summer days were filled with daydreams of devouring their favorite grill menu items. However, the wait proved to be better than imagined. Along with their re-opening, Gracie’s Cafe introduced new menu items including delicious treats and gluten-free options for students. The new menu items were excitedly welcomed throughout the Mt. A community. With displays of brightly covered Froot Loops treats catching everyone’s eye, one student could not resist buying one upon her return to school. The student reviewed her purchase as a “yummy little treat,” expressing that she would be back to get it again.
For other students, it was not the new desserts that had them running to order but the mere availability of food they could eat. Jamie Chisholm, a Mt. A student with celiac disease commented on these new food accommodations: “The new gluten-free options make it much easier for people with gluten allergies to grab food in between classes.” After excitedly trying one of these new sandwiches herself, Chisholm was not disappointed. She expressed that the sandwiches were “really yummy”, a hard feat she admits, considering that gluten-free breads are often dense or dry. With the busy schedules of students, the addition of gluten-free options at Gracie’s Cafe ensures that everyone has a quick option of food throughout their day.
As a campus favourite, it appears that Gracie’s Cafe is only getting better as the years progress. In the years I have been a student at Mt. A, the cafe has expanded their methods of pay to include debit and now also has expanded their menu, introducing new treats and gluten-free options. Thanks to Mt. A dining, the future of on-campus food looks bright for the Mt. A community.