After a comprehensive search process, FoJo Beans, a coffee roaster from Hamilton, N.Y., has been selected as the successor to Café Opus and will open two locations on campus. Work on the new cafés is underway, and an opening date for FoJo South (McEwen Dining Hall) and FoJo North (Taylor Science Center) will be announced closer to the start of the academic year.
FoJo offers hand-crafted beverages and café breakfast and lunch items including paninis, bagels, soups, sandwiches, and sweets. FoJo Beans was launched in Hamilton in 2012 by Dan Joseph and Dan Foust.
“We’re eager to become a member of the Hamilton College community,” Joseph said. “Getting to know the students, faculty, and staff (and in particular, their drink preferences) is integral to making everyone feel welcome — and that is our goal.”
Lucy Burke, director of procurement and administrative services, said, “Choosing a new provider to replace Opus after 26 years of service to Hamilton was a tall order, but our team and our students made an excellent choice with FoJo Beans. Dan and Dan from FoJo have been great to work with already and are dedicated to making FoJo North and FoJo South a great experience for our campus community. I’m excited for them to share their extensive coffee knowledge with us and to create new FoJo traditions and favorites for our students.”
I loved their breakfast sandwich on focaccia and their falafel, and their iced coffee was amazing. I love the energy of the owners and feel they will make a great transition onto campus.
Joseph said FoJo is in the process of creating an exciting Hamilton menu. “What will remain the same is our signature FoJo touch — the subtle flavor tweaks that tantalize the palate and make our food ‘distractingly delicious.’ Unique to FoJo North and FoJo South will be the expansion of our paninis,” he said, adding that a Cuban, a Rachel, a pineapple/brie, and panini cheese sandwich are planned for the menu.
- Signature breakfast sandwiches, overnight oats, soups, and paninis
- Vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free selections, and non-dairy options for coffees
- In-house desserts such as cinnamon coffee cake, upside-down honey date bran muffin, Mandel Broit (Jewish biscotti), the BIG chocolate chip cookie, and baklava
- Drip coffee and espresso drinks (doppio, cortado, cappuccino, and latte) in addition to the mocha latte, the FoJo Crusty, “sipping chocolate,” boba drinks, and superfood lattes
Burke said 15 potential coffee shop providers were sent requests for proposals, which were developed with input from Opus owners and student employees. An internal group on campus reviewed and ranked the proposals, and the top two were invited to campus for a “pop-up” visit in May. Students and staff were invited to taste test samples from each provider and provide feedback. FoJo received very positive reviews and had an excellent proposal that met all of Hamilton’s criteria, which included experience of the provider and its personnel, compatibility with Hamilton and its operations, proposed menu, prices and portions, and a proposed operating plan.
One student who took part in the tasting said, “I loved their breakfast sandwich on focaccia and their falafel, and their iced coffee was amazing. I love the energy of the owners and feel they will make a great transition onto campus.” Another commented, “The FoJo Beans coffee is wonderful, and the food I sampled was creative and delicious. On top of all that, ‘the Dans’ have the personality and charm we’re looking for our Hamilton family.”
“Serving an on-campus population that is always on-the-go requires a delicate balance between ready-made and to-order items,” Foust said. “We will evolve our starting menu to meet the palate desires of the Hamilton College community. We are always receptive to menu suggestions and work to find a way to incorporate them into our offerings.”