“Welcome Students!” reads the new sign leading the Maple Leafs from the recently renovated Union Building lobby and into the sleek and modern dining room of the Leaf Raker Cafe, affectionately referred to as the “Fraker” by GC’s community.
After 35 years of the same interior design, the Leaf Raker Cafe, Goshen’s on-campus restaurant, officially reopened to students on Sept. 2 after almost a full year of renovations.
Since the grand reopening, it’s been difficult to walk through without having to elbow your way through a long line of people waiting to sample the new menu, featuring smoked meats and a partial selection of Starbucks beverages.
The new menu is not the only reason to come check out the fresh and rejuvenated space, however. The welcoming atmosphere the Leaf Raker Cafe offers makes it an excellent place for community members to just be and enjoy an oasis within the rest of campus. The central location of the Union provides a good hub for charging a laptop or grabbing a coffee between classes without having to walk back to the dorms.
The entryway to the cafe is an archway of Goshen Purple accented with clean white lettering and a jade green maple leaf. The green continues on the fronts of the steps that lead you up into the dining area to your left. From under the archway, you can see the color coordinated seats that dot the waiting area. Some are accented with the same green color as the archway. These seats line a countertop that leads to the kitchen and cash register; their spring green color seeming to advertise that there is fresh food this way.
A main point of the remodel was to update the mismatched furniture that had previously filled the cafe, including the wooden booths that had dominated the space since the 1960’s. The new design for the space contrasts this past design in its plethora of new seating options.
This includes a new counter that runs down the center of the main dining room space. Aside from offering a slick and modern feel for an individual to sit and enjoy a meal, the counter has many built-in outlets, granting students the chance to recharge a device while recharging their minds and bodies. The counter also serves as a divider between kitchen and waiting area and a more private dining area.
This is an improvement from the old space that the Leaf Raker offered. Before the remodel, it was difficult to do anything but eat in the space. The more open layout from the past had a way of making a person feel like they were on display to the rest of the restaurant, which is not very conducive to writing an essay or reading a book. The new space offers many open and secluded places to sit and chat with a friend or quietly do homework.
The Leaf Raker Cafe is illuminated with a series of new pendant lights that hang over the tables and counters. They are a warm amber that contrasts well with the purple and green accents in the dining area. In another space, they might seem retro, but against the clean white walls modern furniture, they create just the right amount of warmth to keep the space from feeling too sterile.
The cafe is also lit by a full wall of windows that look out into the new outdoor dining space and beyond that, the main quad of campus. The furniture in the outdoor dining space continues the modern theme with a new couch and picnic table. These are all a fun and cheerful teal and in this writer’s opinion, much softer feeling than you may think. This seating area also offers a place for community members to be, even in the event that the Leaf Raker Cafe itself is closed.
The open and clean design for the recently remodeled Leaf Raker Cafe offers a diverse selection of places to sit, eat, and study. Whether you need a coffee and an outlet to finish that big midterm paper or you want to share a plate of tenders and conversation with a friend, the Fraker has a place for you. So, “Welcome Students!” Enjoy your new place to be.