Dartmouth’s KAF Cafe to close permanently
Updated May 14, 2020 at 1:55 p.m.
The Baker-Berry Library location of King Arthur Flour has closed permanently. The cafe, which opened its Baker-Berry location in 2011, was a favorite among Dartmouth students for coffee, pastries and lunch items.
KAF director John Tunnicliffe said that the company decided to close down its library location two months ago, citing logistical challenges unrelated to the COVID-19 pandemic. He said that the company has decided to consolidate operations to its Norwich campus.
Students may have noticed that KAF hours and food offerings changed more than once during recent terms. Tunnicliffe said that the changes — including decreased weekend hours and reduced sandwich and salad options — were an effort to make the cafe feasible by decreasing the manpower needed to prepare food for the library location.
Tunnicliffe added that KAF was never restricted by Dartmouth or Dartmouth Dining Services regarding food offerings or hours.
Despite its best efforts, however, the company decided they needed to “focus [their] resources” on the Norwich location.
Tunnicliffe added that challenges in storage, delivery and maintaining staff have made the cafe location a challenge for the company.
According to Tunnicliffe, KAF struggled to find enough people to staff both locations due to the high employment rate in the Upper Valley and inconsistent hours due to College breaks.
He added that the recent opening of Ramekin Cafe and the renovation of Novack Cafe added competition for KAF.
Meanwhile, Tunnicliffe said that the main KAF campus in Norwich has increased the number of events offered, such as cooking classes, and that foot traffic has increased each year since its opening in 2012.
“We've truly become a destination for people across the country to come visit,” Tunnicliffe said.
College spokesperson Diana Lawrence said that the school has not yet determined a new use for the cafe's space due to “uncertainty created by the pandemic,” but wrote that “[o]nce we return to full operations we expect to have either an outside or internal operator in that space.”
She added that DDS intends to “expand the use of King Arthur products in our existing dining operations.”
Tunnicliffe said that he is exploring collaboration options with Dartmouth, including expanding catering and stocking KAF bread and other products in DDS locations.
“We do love the relationship with the College … and want to maintain that relationship,” Tunnicliffe said.