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Three new local coffee and cafe vendors opening on Boise State campus

Photo by Claire Keener

Three new cafe-style vendors will be opening on Boise State’s campus this semester: Guru Donuts, Poppyseed Cafe and Urban Fox.

Following the closure of the Big City Coffee & Cafe campus location last fall, the university began the process of finding another vendor for the cafe space in Albertsons Library. 

According to Nicole Nimmons, associate vice president of Campus Services, Boise State requested that Aramark, the university’s food and beverage partner, find a local, non-franchise “coffee and food” business to fill the spot. 

After receiving about ten letters of interest from local restaurants, the university narrowed its selection to the top four applicants. The applicants were then asked to create a short video presentation explaining why they wanted to be a part of the Boise State campus community. 

[Photo of Guru Donuts’ storefront in downtown Boise]
Photo by Claire Keener | The Arbiter

Students and other members of the campus community had the opportunity to review these presentations in a Zoom webinar. The university then issued a survey and collected around 400 responses to determine which businesses the community was most interested in, according to Nimmons.

Administrators took those responses and worked with Aramark to evaluate which businesses would work best for the location.

Urban Fox ranked number one with the most positive feedback. However, Aramark determined that the Albertsons Library vendor space had previously seen a high rate of food sales.

“…A large amount of food is purchased there [in Albertsons Library],” Nimmons said. “And so, one of our top retailers [Urban Fox] that the students really wanted in that location, just due to the fact that they don’t have a food line, we knew probably wasn’t going to be the best fit for that location.”

Because Urban Fox mostly offers coffee and tea products, the university decided that the second-place ranked cafe, Guru Donuts, would be a better fit for Albertsons Library.

However, Boise State was able to offer Urban Fox a vendor space in the Multipurpose Classroom Building, replacing Moxie Java. 

Poppyseed Cafe was also offered a spot on campus, going into the Micron Business and Economics Building, replacing the JR Simplot Cafe.

Guru Donuts – Albertsons Library

Established in 2012, Guru Donuts’ main location is located in the Idanha Building in downtown Boise. Guru Donuts offers handcrafted doughnuts made with locally sourced ingredients. 

The shop’s menu features a variety of vegan and gluten-free doughnuts, as well as some specialty and seasonal options. Guru also serves sandwiches, avocado toasts and a variety of coffee and beverages. 

Additionally, Sabre Rodriguez, regional manager of Guru Donuts, said the Boise State location will offer new menu items like breakfast burritos and bowls. Guru Donuts will also be partnering with The STIL Ice Cream Company to offer pre-packaged artisanal ice cream in the Albertsons Library location.

“We’re really looking forward to having a lot of repeat customers and getting to build more relationships,” Rodriguez said.

Guru Donuts on Boise State campus will be officially open as of Aug. 20, just in time for the start of fall semester classes. 

Urban Fox – Multipurpose Classroom Building

Haena Cho, the owner of Urban Fox, had a difficult time finding a boba tea shop that she liked when she first moved to Idaho. So when the business opportunity came about in 2017, Cho decided to open up her own shop near The Village shopping center in Meridian.

“I actually have a manager that has about ten years of experience in coffee shops,” Cho said. “So we decided that coffee and boba tea would be the ultimate stop for everyone that’s here in the Treasure Valley.”

Urban Fox offers milk teas and clear teas with additional add-ins like boba, jellies and flavorings. The cafe also has a full coffee and espresso menu which features the customer favorite “Short and Sweet” latte, the shop’s take on Vietnamese coffee.

Urban Fox will also have baked goods, pastries, snacks and “grab and go” pre-packaged food items available at the Boise State campus location.

Renovations are still being made to prepare the vendor space in the Multipurpose Classroom Building for Urban Fox, but Cho believes they should be finished sometime in early September and hopes to open shortly after.

Poppyseed Cafe – Micron Business and Economics Building

Poppyseed Cafe’s main location is a quaint space on Hill Road tucked into the foothills of northern Boise. 

The restaurant’s Boise State location will have a full breakfast and lunch menu, including breakfast bowls, breakfast burritos, sandwiches, salads, baked goods and more. Poppyseed Cafe also offers a variety of coffee and tea beverages.

“We try to accommodate all kinds of food allergies or diets, so we have keto options, gluten-free, vegan, that kind of thing,” said Kimberly Castor, who co-owns Poppyseed Cafe with her husband Jeremy Franklin. 

Poppyseed Cafe will be located on the first floor of the Micron Business and Economics building on the west side of campus and is anticipating opening on the same day that classes start, Aug. 23. 

“The atmosphere or the aesthetic that we’ve kind of tried to promote is [that] we like to try to keep things as local as possible, using local ingredients or local vendors,” Castor said.

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