Where Did the Koret Deli Go?

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USF ended their contract with the Koret Deli, operated by Royal Ground Coffee. WILLIAM WIN/FOGHORN

For students not on the Flexi meal plan, there is nothing worse than doling out real cash in the cafeteria.

For this reason, the Koret Deli, located on the third floor of the Koret Health and Recreation Center, has been a go-to for students wanting to avoid “flexi-focused” food establishments on campus. The deli temporarily closed before the start of the spring semester. It was the only on-campus food establishment not affiliated with Bon Appétit.

There is no set date for the deli to reopen, according to Koret Director Shanie Chambers.

Since fall 2009, the Koret Deli has been operated by Royal Ground Coffee, a Bay Area coffee shop chain. The deli’s menu consisted of coffee, baked goods, smoothies and sandwiches.

According to Yelp, Royal Ground Coffee makes the 19th best breakfast bagel in the city.

USF notified Royal Ground Coffee in mid-December that the University would be ending their lease with the establishment in 60 days, Chambers said. It is unclear as to why the University ended severed ties with the chain.

The University and Royal Ground Coffee contract was set to expire Feb. 11, however, with slow traffic in Koret over the winter intersession, Royal Ground Coffee chose to close their doors earlier than expected, Chambers said.

“While the space is vacant, we are seeking ways to collaborate with others on-campus to see if we can create some type of ‘pop-up’ space to give visibility, access and an alternate venue for student resources,” Chambers said. “One good thing is that the deli continues to provide a nice, quiet space for students to study, disconnect, and enjoy the view.”

Royal Ground Coffee still has some inventory remaining in the Koret Deli. The drink case is still stocked with juices and the deli case has remains of a few random packaged food items.

Chambers spoke of how Koret staff members relied on the deli during shifts. “We’ve been trying to bring snacks for our staff in the interim,” she said. “I’m trying to stock up on Trader Joe’s trail mix, fresh fruit, hot tea and baked stuff on a good day. But it’s no [Royal Ground Coffee] bagel.”

Koret-goers appeared to be confused over for the sudden closure. In a 30 minute period on one weekday afternoon, 15 patrons walked up to a deli with closed shutters.

Sophomore Corinne Paalman, who works as a lifeguard in Koret, said the deli closure was a huge inconvenience. “For a long time, I didn’t even know the café existed, but then when I found out about it … I was like, woah,” Paalman said.

With only 20 minute breaks during their shifts, making a trip to the school cafeteria is not an option for Koret Staff, Paalman said. “[The deli] was a nice place to get coffee, lunch or dinner as it was really convenient and the food came out quick,” she said. “Now I have to make sure I always bring food to work with me.”

Koret alerted gym-goers of the change on Feb. 11 by taking down the deli menus and posting signs about the closure. The University is devising a plan to fill the vacant area, but much is still unknown as to what will take its place, or when the change will happen.

Bon Appétit Manager Micah Cavolo was unable to verify if his company would be taking over the Koret deli location.

Paalman said she would like to see the deli replaced with the same variety of food that Royal Ground Coffee had. “Coffee, energy bars, chicken salad sandwiches and plenty of healthy options. It’s a gym, we are all here because we want to stay healthy,” she said.

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