Bring back Corner Cafe, a vital slice of Algonquin


Axel Soderquist

Staff Writer Justice Huang writes that the Corner Cafe should be brought back as it provides students with a greater range of food options.

Justice Huang, Staff Writer

A group of junior girls walked away from the register with pretzels. A senior boy bought a bag of Doritos, ice cream and water. I bought a blue pack of Welch’s Fruit Snacks and a chocolate chip cookie. Life was good when the Corner Cafe was open, but now that it’s closed, these memories are all that remain.

Once a staple of Algonquin, the Corner Cafe has been noticeably closed for the entire 2021-2022 school year so far without public explanation nor warning. Missed by many, the Corner Cafe should be revived immediately to satisfy the demands of the student body and bring more joy back to lunch and the school day overall.

According to the cafeteria staff, the Corner Cafe was closed and gated off due to staff shortages as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Product shortages have also played a hand in the shop’s closing.

The Corner Cafe had many benefits. Some days, students may find the cafeteria meals to be too small, which may require them to get double lunch, while for others the full meal is too big, leading them to throw out extra food. The Corner Cafe allowed people to get a snack on days they felt less than hungry and to add a snack to a meal when they felt hungrier than usual.

The Corner cafe also gave students a greater range in food options. Currently, if the main lunch is not to your liking and you aren’t quite in the mood for pizza, a sandwich or a salad, then you are out of luck.

Pretzels, Fruit Snacks, Doritos, ice cream, cookies, seltzer water, water and other treats used to remain popular throughout the year, and lines for the little shop could be as long as the main lunch lines some days.

Some students would buy food during lunch to snack on later, which would make the rest of their day just a little bit better. I was one of these people, always purchasing a blue Welch’s Fruit Snack pack to eat during lunch or on the ride home.

I understand that staff shortages are restrictive, but if we cannot have paid adults run the Corner Cafe, then we should make use of student volunteers.

The School Store is thriving, and it is run by students who volunteer their time every day to keep it that way. This same system could be used for the Corner Cafe; students with free periods during lunch could be offered the choice to run the outlet, or it could be implemented as part of a business class or club.

We could also have students run the Corner Cafe at the end of lunch so that they may eat their food and hang out with friends before selling a few snacks in the last 10 minutes. This way, those looking to have food from both the main line and the Corner Cafe could get their main lunch first and a snack after.

To accommodate for snack shortages and a disrupted supply chain, the Corner Cafe could open with a limited stock—which students would still welcome with open arms. After all, anything is better than nothing.

I know I am not alone in my longing for the return of the Corner Cafe. The issue of its closure remains a hot topic throughout the student body, and no one can pass by its sad, empty shelves without hoping to see it back up and running.

I believe that with some collaboration between students and cafeteria staff who are open to new ideas, we can revive the Corner Cafe and return it to the greatness it once so proudly presented.