November 29, 2018

Hub to re-open January 11 – Iconic spot will feature Heaping Plato and The Roasterie Cafe


AMES, Iowa – The Hub will re-open on Jan. 11, 2019, with a new look and menu. The iconic building will feature two fresh and distinct concepts: The Roasterie Cafe and Heaping Plato, a Mediterranean-inspired eatery.

The public will get its first look at the space during an open house on Jan. 10, from 1 to 4 p.m. Staff will be on hand to answer questions and provide samples of the new menu.

“We’re excited to reopen and want to create destinations across campus with this and our other recent renovations,” said Mohamed Ali, director of ISU Dining. “The Hub was trying to sell everything in one spot. The Heaping Plato side will focus on one flavor theme and do it really well. The Roasterie Café will bring a new, premium coffee experience to campus.”

The Roasterie Café

The Roasterie Café’s expansive beverage menu will feature brewed coffee, espresso, iced coffee, blended drinks, sparkling juices, Italian soda, teas and more.

Founded by ISU alum Danny O’Neill, The Roasterie is a Kansas City-based company that sources beans from all over the world, air-roasts them in downtown Kansas City and ships them directly to customers. They also operate several popular cafes in the area.

“We’re going to hit all the types of drinks people enjoy,” said Angie Witt, manager of Heaping Plato and The Roasterie Café. “I am really excited about the Nitro coffee we’ll have on tap and our chef-created handmade syrups.”

Another unique feature The Roasterie will employ is espresso machines that are the first of their kind in the Ames’ area. The machines self-calibrate allowing the coffee to retain the desired flavor profile throughout the day.

The Roasterie Cafe replaces Caribou Coffee whose contract with Iowa State expired last spring. When considering what to put in the Hub, The Roasterie made sense given their high-quality product, regional location and the ability to bring the full Roasterie experience to campus. The Roasterie also gives ISU Dining more creativity over the beverage menu.

Customers will also find gelato in the cafe. Made on campus, staff worked with an award-winning chef from Carpigiani Gelato University in Italy to create a unique and flavorful product.

“We’ll be curing our own gelato base in house. That gives us a richer and deeper flavor, with a smooth and creamy texture,” said ISU Dining chef, Nolan Green. “We’ve waited a long time to serve gelato on campus because we wanted to make sure we had it right. It’s going to be awesome.”

Heaping Plato

Green, along with others from the ISU Dining chef team, also created an authentic menu for Heaping Plato using recipes you won’t see anywhere else on campus.

“We’re taking a fresh approach. You’ll see things that appeal to many different diets,” said Green. “We’re putting our own Mediterranean spin on items and making more things from scratch like our own pitas, hummus and falafel.”

Open for breakfast and lunch, choices include chicken or beef-lamb shawarma, beef brisket, falafels, pitas, hummus, and traditional sides like tabouleh, fattoush as well as shoestring French fries – everything fresh and made-from-scratch.

Both Witt and Green recommend trying the falafel. “I’m proud of a lot of recipes on the menu, but I’m really proud of this (falafel). We make ours from scratch, with a hint of spice from fresh jalapeno,” says Green.

“A lot of people think that Mediterranean is really out there in terms of flavors and spices. We make it simple so the richness is brought in with the ingredients themselves,” says Green.

A Variety of Destinations

The Hub is ISU Dining’s third renovation this year. Clyde’s, located in the Union Drive Community Center, features hamburgers, sandwiches, shakes and Starbucks’ Coffee while the MU Food Court serves pizza, chicken, burritos and has an expansive salad bar. That brought an opportunity for the Hub to offer something different.

“Mediterranean is one of the most popular and fastest growing food chains in the United States right now,” said Ali. “The (Mediterranean) flavor is not really that foreign to students any more. We’ll be offering something very familiar, but with our little twist on it.”

Renovating an Icon

The Hub was expanded as part of a 2008 ISU Dining renovation and the building has seen extensive use over the past decade. The renovation improves the space and separates the two venues, making line flow more efficient for customers.

Demolition began in May 2018 with hopes to re-open in November. Many issues with the historic building were fixed in the 2008 renovation but the project revealed a few surprises that added time to the schedule, pushing the open date to January.

The building originally opened in 1892 as a bookstore, post office and waiting room for the Ames College Railway. During its lifetime, it has been physically relocated and had several additions. The Hub has housed a ticket office, copy center, traffic office, one of ISU Dining’s first campus cafes, the famed ‘vendo-o-land,’ and the two previous ISU Dining concepts. The building will continue to be part of the Iowa State story by evolving with the times and serving the Cyclones of today like it has for the past 126 years.

Learn more about The Roasterie coffee company