Press, a small outdoor coffee shop located outside of Moffitt Library, opened Monday morning to mostly positive reviews.
The new café will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on weekdays and will potentially expand to weekends at certain times of year, according to Daryl Ross, who runs both Press and the Free Speech Movement Café and owns Caffe Strada.
Tiffany Grandstaff, spokesperson for the University Library, said Press and the newly renovated fourth and fifth floors of Moffitt were developed by Gensler, a San Francisco design firm.
Both Press management and customers appreciated the unique design of the building. According to Sukhjit Johal, head of UC Berkeley Library Capital Projects and Facility Management, planning for the terrace area of Moffitt where Press is located began in mid-June 2015 as part of the campus’s larger plan to make the space, which had previously been considered a “dead zone,” a lively “beacon” on campus.
“We wanted to create something unique and spectacular, with light. It’s architecturally minimal (when closed),” Johal said. “It’s a two-metal structure with columns and beams. On top of that box, with (the) waterproof membrane, there is a pad with LED panels. When the door comes down, the whole box lights up (in the evenings).”
According to Jose Luis Diaz, general manager of Press who started working for Ross when he opened Strada in 1989, Press is trying to cater to the student and staff market by offering healthy snacks with local, fair-trade ingredients.
Many students who came to Press said they appreciated the new café for its convenient location.
“It’s great we have a new café in front of Moffitt. (The matcha) is so smooth and so good,” said campus junior Ella Han. “It’s a really cool design. … Pretty much, I live here during midterms and finals.”
Ben Beitler, a campus graduate student studying French literature, said he liked that the space was less crowded than FSM, but he thought it was too exposed to the sun. Beitler added that he thought this issue could be solved with the addition of umbrellas.
Press culinary director Molly Cooper has been a professional chef for about 15 years. Cooper said she designed the menu to seasonally correspond to the local farmers market. The menu currently includes salads, smoothies and sandwiches, but it will be finalized within a month based on which items sell.
“We thought of it as a snack shack. We wanted something fun … but healthy and natural, as fresh as possible,” Cooper said. “It’s fun because you get to think out of the box.”