7 Years Later, The Hive Café Is Finally Open—Kind Of

Loyola Luncheon on Hold Until Mid-September

The Hive Café project has been in the works for so long that it has become the stuff of myth—mention to Concordia alumni that the Hive Café will soon be opening, and you are likely to be met with maniacal laughter and warning tales of opening parties held years ago.

It seems, however, that the project will finally come to fruition—for real this time. The Loyola and Hall Building cafés will be operating as a single entity this year, the “Hive Café Solidarity Co-operative,” although the two locations will be opening on different dates.

“We might be opening up The Hive at Loyola more around the end of September,” said Concordia Student Union VP Loyola Gabriel Velasco. “We’re still not sure of the exact opening date because construction is such an issue there.”

The Hive Café project on the Loyola campus has been delayed for years. The most consistent activity in the space has been the Loyola Luncheon, a free vegetarian lunch served on weekdays.

The Luncheon has been operating out of the space created for the café since it was made available following renovations in September 2007.

Those who depend on the Loyola Luncheon will be out of luck at the start of the semester, however, as renovations for the new café will render the space inaccessible to students for the first two weeks of classes.

“The Loyola Luncheon, we’re going to try and get it up [on Wednesday] the second week of school,” Velasco said.

Some Concordia students, notably those with classes at Loyola, are upset by the hiatus. Mary Harasym, an undergraduate student in psychology, has most of her classes at Loyola and depended on the free meal because of the sparse food options available.

“I wish we didn’t have our free lunches taken away because of a café,” she said.

When the Luncheon does start, the Hive will be providing it.

“One of the reasons we wanted to have the Luncheon run by the Hive Café is that the Hive Café is a democratic, co-op structure,” Velasco explained. “We want to make a more active—more of a community—sort of experience.”

With a co-operative model, “students would have more of a direct say and can hold the kitchen […] accountable, and can really participate in developing menus, making sure that the food is not only healthy, but also delicious,” he continued.

“The Hive […] is known to be a super grey, drab space, 50 shades of grey essentially, across the whole building, so we wanted to bring in a bit of life alongside the new café,” – Gabriel Velasco, VP Loyola

Meanwhile, the downtown “Mezz Hive” is set to open Sept. 2, albeit with limited hours.

Its menu “might not be 100 percent solidified at first,” according to VP Sustainability Jessica Cabana, who declined to give specific details on café prices. She affirmed that the CSU is nevertheless making an effort to “balance affordability and sustainability.”

Student art will be exhibited in the downtown café the first day it opens. Students from all faculties will be able to submit art until Aug. 27. The student submissions will be exhibited at the “Mezz Co-op Kickoff” as part of the first day of Orientation activities Sept. 2.

Similarly, the CSU passed a motion allocating $3,500 from its Student Space, Accessible Education and Legal Contingency Fund to pay for three large murals in the Hive space on the Loyola campus. Concordia students will be able to apply to paint the murals after the start of the academic year.

“The Hive […] is known to be a super grey, drab space, 50 shades of grey essentially, across the whole building, so we wanted to bring in a bit of life alongside the new café,” Velasco explained.

Last year, the CSU was mandated in a referendum question to create a student-run co-operative on the Hall Building’s mezzanine, replacing the Java U that leased the space from CUSAcorp, the CSU’s for-profit arm, for over 15 years.

Half of the Quebec minimum co-op fee of $10 will be subsidized by the Hive, so students will have access to discounted items after paying a $5 membership fee.