Café East to be Turned into an Erewhon to Recognize 50% Angeleno Student Body

On Monday, Columbia Dining, in partnership with the Columbia College and Columbia Engineering office for Multicultural Affairs, announced that Café East will be transformed into an Erewhon come Spring 2025. “At Columbia, we strive to foster a diverse, inclusive, and equitable environment in which students, staff, faculty, alumni, and our neighbors can all thrive,” said Melinda Aquino, Associate Dean of Multicultural Affairs. “This extends to our culinary practices, and our new dining hall follows a long tradition of building community and fostering conversations about diversity at the (slanted, overcrowded, creaking) table.” 

Aquino traces the decision to the rising Angeleno (resident of Los Angeles) population at Columbia University: this past year, 32% of Columbia University undergrads listed their place of residence as the City of Angels (although when pressed about it, more than half shiftily admitted that they live in Los Angeles County, “but it’s, like, still the exact same thing”). 

“We know that for many of our Angeleno students, the cultural switch from the second-most populous US city to the most populous US city can be overwhelming, and scary. We wanted our students to feel at home when they sat down to dinner, or while grabbing a quick bite between hot pilates classes at the Equinox on W 92nd.” 

At Café Erewhon, students can sample regional cuisines such as the famous Buffalo Cauliflower, the Avocado and White Bean Salad, or lesser-known local favorites such as Sea Moss Jelly, Maca and Cacao Pudding, and Macrobiotic Mashed Sweet Potatoes. Students can also shop in the market section for fresh produce and superfoods, stop by the smoothie bar for Columbia-themed specialties such as Boyce Blueberry Blasts and Chef Mike’s Mangoccino, or attend a workshop on how to pronounce “Erewhon” in that classic Palisades drawl. 

To retain authenticity, Café Erewhon will maintain the prices of its predecessor: students will be required to swipe twice to dine in, and products available for purchase start at 30 flex dollars. Barnard students will be able to use their points to purchase items as well, but a 200% surcharge will be applied to their cardholders.