Debbie Erickson, an Eastern employee for nearly three years, served fruit punch and cheesecake to those who attended the ribbon cutting of the newly-renovated Stratton Cafe Monday. Erickson works in the salad and deli preparation division of food services (Ben Kleppinger)

By Kristen Miller

The newly-renovated Stratton Café, located in the downstairs area of the Stratton Building across the bypass, was unveiled in a ribbon cutting ceremony Monday morning. Senior Food Service Director Larry Puscizna spoke at the unveiling and said the improvements were made to promote quicker and better service.

He thanked those who stayed patient during the renovations.

“This is for you,” Puscizna said. “Please use it.”

Puscizna said Stratton Café received the upgrades for the same reasons Powell Food Court did earlier in the school year.

“Focus group feedback as well as customer surveys asked for new choices in a modern atmosphere,” he said.

Puscizna said people were coming to the café but were looking for something a little different than what was offered.

“The renovations are giving them just that,” he said.

Director of Operations Charlie Brubeck said the renovations started right after Christmas and were finished four to five weeks later, at the end of January.

Brubeck said it was time for a little facelift to the café.

“It needed it. It was past due,” he said.

New floors were installed along with new ceiling tiles, lighting, hooding and equipment.

Also, the café received an expanded menu with cooked-to-order pasta and stir-fry, Brubeck said.

Along with the cooked-to-order food, students can get burgers or sandwiches at the Homezone along with an assortment of desserts, yogurt, cold foods and many other options.

The main goal, Brubeck said, was to draw more people to the café. He said it’s working.

“It’s getting a lot more students over here,” he said.

“It’s just beautiful,” said Jack Pittman, a custodian for the Stratton building, who stopped in to check out the new area.

Charity Bradley, district marketing manager, said she couldn’t believe how the café looked.

“It’s hard to believe it’s the same location,” she said.

Bradley said the area was cleaner and more modern than its predecessor.

Bradley hopes students will keep coming to the new café and realize that it offers more options for breakfast and lunch than what they had before.

And Puscizna said attendance at the café has been improving.

“Everyone is enjoying the newly renovated facility,” he said.