Downtown favorites are bringing energy into Lafferre Hall’s new cafe

CDS Marketing Manager Mike Wuest: “It’s always nice to have a partnership with someone who has an investment in the community here."
Employees work in this semester’s newly opened Potential Energy Cafe, located in Lafferre Hall.

After nearly two years of planning and focus groups with engineering students, the new Potential Energy Cafe opened at the beginning of this semester in the renovated Lafferre Hall. The cafe serves Kaldi's Coffee and Harold's Doughnuts, businesses owned by MU graduates.

Potential Energy Cafe has been in the works for a while. In February 2015, the state approved the sale of bonds to finance the Lafferre Hall renovation, and the College of Engineering also received $500,000 in private donations. After receiving these funds, College of Engineering officials approached Campus Dining Services about installing a cafe in the building. Since the engineering college is one of the largest on campus, the cafe was approved.

“We have to look at it from a perspective as, is there enough traffic, is there enough students faculty and staff and how close is it to our current locations?” CDS Marketing Manager Mike Wuest said.

After holding focus groups with engineering students, CDS decided to serve Kaldi’s Coffee at the location. Both Potential Energy Cafe and Bookmark Cafe, in Ellis Library, are now serving Harold’s Doughnuts, new to campus this semester.

“It’s always nice to have a partnership with someone who has an investment in the community here,” Wuest said. “A lot of times they love it because they get to come to campus and see their old professors and their old spaces.”

The cafe, as well as the newly renovated study space next to it, is a welcome addition in Lafferre Hall.

“Kaldi’s is my favorite coffee, so I’m glad that we have a place to study,” senior engineering student Ashley May said. “All the other schools have a little cafe, so it’s nice that we have one now. You had to walk all the way downtown if you wanted to get a coffee, and it’s nice to grab a coffee in between your classes.”

Although Potential Energy Cafe opened at the beginning of this semester, it’ll be holding a grand opening event on Feb. 9.

“We will have lots of free samples, and Truman the Tiger is going to be there from 10 a.m. to noon; it’s been confirmed,” Potential Energy Cafe manager Melissa Riley said. “We’ll be doing a bunch of free prizes, so on our Twitter account and Instagram we’ll be passing out free coffee for the semester and things like that.”

Edited by Kyle LaHucik | klahucik@themaneater.com

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