Redpath Café opened its doors on Sept. 3 after Quebec-based café and bakery chain Première Moisson failed to renew its lease at the end of the 2018-19 academic year. Canadian chain Toi Moi et Café will serve coffee and baked goods at the new venue, alongside Bento Sushi and Mandy’s salads.
Staff working at the previous Première Moisson location were offered the option to return to the new café in September. Meagan Toohey, who has been working in the Redpath-McLennan building for the past four years, shared her enthusiasm for the cafeteria’s new services.
“We [prepare all our products] in the kitchen each morning so [they’re] all fresh every day,” Toohey said. “We have a lot more fruits, [so the café is] not full of sugary stuff. We have a lot of snacks […] and there are a lot more drink options. Plus, we have the sushi place, which is very popular right now. And the coffee is also a lot cheaper than in the past.”
The Quesada and Bento Sushi locations in the Bronfman Building shut down in April 2018, due to construction on the first and second floors of the building. The work is intended to provide facilities for the Bensadoun School of Retail Management, such as classrooms, office and meeting rooms, and study areas.
Food and Dining Services informed The McGill Tribune that these renovations, scheduled to end in Nov. 2019, will only include new academic spaces. Quesada has another location in Carrefour Sherbrooke, and Bento Sushi has several outlets across McGill’s campus and residences.
Many students have not yet had the chance to visit the new café in the Redpath basement. Elijah Wenzel, U4 Arts, has yet to form an opinion about the new additions.
“I do think the food is still alright and they still have coffee and tea, which is really what I want the most,” Wenzel said. “They’re still getting set up [….] I was told that soon they’ll have a better menu that shows really what they have […] so I’ll reserve some judgement until they’re really up and running. I [also] think the [pricing] is maybe a little lower, which I appreciate.”
In Jan. 2019, the Tribune conducted an informal survey, which found that only 29 of 314 respondents wanted Première Moisson to remain in the Redpath-McLennan library. However, now that Première Moisson has vacated Redpath, some students have expressed favourable opinions toward the café.
“I thought that Première Moisson was kind of expensive, but at least we had different options in terms of sandwiches or salads,” Clara Sedzro, U2 Arts, said. “I kind of miss Première Moisson. They also had more vegetarian sandwich options.”
Wenzel disagrees that Première Moisson was overpriced.
“I liked [Première Moisson],” Wenzel said. “I know some people thought it was kind of expensive, but I always thought it was a nice place to come down and get a cup of tea or coffee. […] I mostly miss the seats by the window because I really liked sitting there and looking out onto Lower Field.”