Qualcomm Cafe to reopen with new vendor Yali’s in January

Ana Isabel Diaz/Senior Staff

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Qualcomm Cafe is set to reopen at the start of the 2018 spring semester with Yali’s as its new vendor after being closed for renovations since the end of May.

Ayal Amzel, co-owner of Yali’s, said the renovated cafe will provide a more “substantial and diverse” menu than the one offered by CalDining, its previous vendor. Elan Lieber, co-owner of Yali’s and the future manager of the renovated Qualcomm Cafe, added that Yali’s is planning a complete redesign of the Qualcomm Cafe space, including the installation of standing tables and an “old-school library lounge.”

“We feel like it’s going to be one of the most unique cafes on campus,” Lieber said.

The renovated Qualcomm Cafe will be the third Yali’s location on campus, in addition to a fourth directly across from campus on Oxford Street.

Renovations to the cafe are mostly cosmetic and do not include significant structural changes, according Domenico Caramagno, director of facilities and operations at the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society, or CITRIS, which is working with Yali’s in the redesign. He said the renovations will primarily focus on remodeling the kitchen to accommodate new menu items.

The new menu will be seasonal and will feature items such as sandwiches, paninis and pita wraps along with “third wave coffee,” according to Amzel.

CITRIS facilities management specialist Reginald Madison said the cafe will be partnering with three local business: Firebrand Artisan Breads, Equator Coffees and Teas and Gregoire, a French restaurant.

“The idea behind it is not only to change it to represent the season, but also to introduce different cuisines,” Amzel said.

Although Yali’s will replace CalDining as the cafe’s vendor, the cafe will keep its original name with the addition of Yali’s branding, according to Caramagno. Madison said CITRIS and the campus have not yet decided whether the cafe will take meal points, as it did before its closure.

“We’re still ironing out the cost and how far the renovation is going to go,” Madison said. “We haven’t even gotten contractors for it yet.”

Given Qualcomm Cafe’s close proximity to engineering and computer science buildings, some students in these departments said they have been inconvenienced by its closure. Computer science major RJ Pimentel said he frequented the cafe at least once a day when it was open.

“This would be my source of all my food and coffee throughout the day,” Pimentel said. “(The temporary closure) is not life-changing, it’s just annoying.”

Similarly, campus mechanical engineering major Giovanni Pacheco said he appreciated the convenient on-campus location of Qualcomm Cafe. He said as a freshman, he often purchased items at the cafe because it took meal points.

Madison said he does not expect the renovations to begin for another few weeks, but that the tentative reopening date is still set for Jan. 10 2018.

“It’s definitely going to have a whole new look and feel,” Caramagno said. “We’re excited about what’s to come.”

Contact Danielle Kaye at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @danielledkaye.