November 2, 2015

Quantum Café in Eckhardt Center gains momentum on opening day

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If Mansueto were reborn as a café, it would take the shape of the Quantum. At 9:30 a.m. yesterday morning, the William Eckhardt Research Center’s new ground-floor café was buzzing with a quiet intensity. Sunlight streamed through the floor-to-ceiling glass walls, striking the spacious array of minimalist white tables as a few scattered students and researchers, coffee in hand, pecked away at their laptops.

This newest campus dining option seats over 80 people and offers an unexpectedly diverse menu, featuring sandwiches, salads, soups, entrées, sides, and desserts. Options range from your typical crispy buffalo sandwich and kale salad to more elaborate plates like the pineapple-soy grilled salmon and banana-schetta. Like Café Logan, the Quantum offers a “Trifecta” deal: combine three side dishes to make an entrée for $7.99. These smaller sides include zucchini carpaccio, brussel sprouts, greens and beans, and beets and sprouts.

I, for one, stuck with a classic: the egg and cheese breakfast sandwich on a croissant, complete with turkey sausage. My seemingly safe choice was, however, not as dependable as I had thought.

The Quantum’s service was friendly and efficient, and my breakfast was ready within five minutes. It was presented on a beautiful white ceramic plate, with finely sliced strawberry garnish and all. While the sandwich was decently tasty overall (thank you turkey sausage), the damp croissant was lukewarm and slimy between my fingers—satisfying enough for $4.99 in Maroon dollars, but not ideal.

As for drinks, the café sells a range of sodas, juices, and espresso brews. In the cooler case to your left as you walk in, you’ll spot a colorful assortment of bottles and cans ranging from Izze to RAAW fruit fusions. The Quantum sells two blends of drip coffee: “Slow Motion,” a smooth mix of molasses and cocoa flavors, and “Fast Forward,” a light and sweet nutty flavor.

The Quantum, like Eckhardt itself, has a clean, sharp finish. Although the café is supremely utilitarian, it boasts one impressive artistic feature: the massive 12-screen high-definition photo display spanning the café’s southern wall. These stunning images—vibrant snapshots of molecular structures, arctic laboratories, cosmological bodies, and more—filter through every few minutes, cultivating an air of awe, adventure, and potential.

At its prime location on the new North Science Quadrangle, the Quantum promises to fill the science quarter’s need for a social and dining forum. At the same time, the caffeine station is a convenient pit stop for all students rushing down Ellis in the early morning. Stop by the Quantum this opening week and assess the breakfast sandwich for yourself.

The Quantum Café is located on the ground floor of the William Eckhardt Research Center, 5640 South Ellis Avenue, and is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.–4 p.m.

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