Daemen’s upcoming Den Project said to be “transformational” for student body

Wick’s Cyber Cafe has gone through various changes throughout the years. From being an actual computer cafe to a small dining lounge, the Cafe has always been accommodating to the Daemen community. And now, new changes are on the horizon.

Beginning in May of 2016, Cyber Cafe will be closed down in order for construction to begin on the new Den. These renovations are projected to cost an estimated $500,000 and will be completed around mid-to-late August, just in time for the Fall Semester.

“We are going to double seating to allow for groups, individuals, studying and entertainment.  We are working on a weekly Saturday evening entertainment series and will give us greater flexibility for student groups on campus.  I think that this space remodel has the potential to be transformational for students,” said Greg Nayor, Vice President for Student Affairs.

Aside from the spacious seating, the Den will include cable television, music and access directly to the patio outside.

The Den will also include a new dining menu will new food options.

“The Den is going to very exciting for us. We have developed four very new concepts for Daemen College. Sabai will be the Asian concept, Griglia Fresca, the Italian, and Huarache, the Mexican as well as enhancing the Slice, Sizzle & Stack concept that we are currently operating. Slice, Sizzle & Stack will be centered around burgers and individual pizzas.The three other concepts, Sabai, Griglia Fresca, and Huarache will not all operate at the same time. We have designed the space to be flexible around these three concepts and they will rotate every couple of weeks to keep things new and exciting,” said Ryan Richardson, the Director of Dining Services.

Plans for how this new menu will operate have also been thought out. According to Richardson, customers will be able to assemble and create the meal that they desire among the Asian, Italian, and Mexican cuisine options. This projected setup is similar to those established in restaurants such as Chipotle. In addition, a new Pepsi fountain will be added.

While plans for upgrades had been under consideration for several years, work really began to introduce the refurbished facility about 18 months ago.

“When I arrived in June of 2014, I worked with Student Activities, Dining Services, Student Association and others to figure out how we make it happen.  While the idea was out there for many years, the last 18 months we have been actively working to make it happen,” Nayor said.

Such renovations do come with a cost, but that has also been worked out, according to Nayor.

“We entered into a new partnership with Hallmark Management Services, our Dining Services provider, to help fund the project.  They are fronting the costs and in turn, the College is paying it back over several years through an extended contract and through meal plans,” he said.

Student response also seems to be fairly positive. Junior commuter student Chelsea-Lyn Lewis is excited to test out the new menu in particular.

“I’m not a big fan of a lot of foods but I think it will be nice to have more options which would make me want to try some new things,” she said.

She was also glad to hear about new updates concerning the project.
“The only thing I’ve seen about the Den are the signs around the school and one video,” she said.

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