Grand Opening of Sip & Chill Welcomes Fair Trade and Community Business

by Alexa Schmidt & Colleen MacNamara, A&E Editor & Staff Writer

The opening of Sip & Chill, a new cafe on campus, offered free food samples, raffles and the opportunity to meet the new staff on Thursday, Oct. 1. The cafe is located in what was previously known as the Red Mango space in Thomas Hall. 

Randall Tomblin, the retail food services manager of the food services on the second floor of Thomas and in Kelly Commons, was excited to share the new concept. 

“The goal of the grand opening was just to introduce Manhattan Sip & Chill as a brand to Manhattan College,” Tomblin said.

 “The whole inspiration behind it was to break the ice between ourselves and the community and to introduce the fair trade efforts that were put forth and the city style coffee shop,” Tomblin said.

The Grand Opening of Sip & Chill on Oct. 1, which is located next to Cafe 1853 on the second floor of Thomas Hall. ALEXA SCHMIDT / THE QUADRANGLE

Manhattan Sip & Chill is its own location located right next to Cafe 1853, which will still be in operation. As of now, it will still be a grab-and-go concept. 

Jerez Giles, the marketing coordinator for the dining services team, welcomed students as they walked into the new space.

“We try to provide products all students will like, we wanted to keep the old Red Mango skeleton but introduce a new coffee at the same time” Giles said.

In addition to keeping the same food students have previously expressed interest in, two new products were introduced, including Fair Trade coffee and items from a local business.

“We wanted to provide students with popular acaí bowl and smoothie options, and brought in a bakery from the community, Dutch Baby Bakery,” Tomblin said.

Manhattan College is recognized as an official Fair Trade College, one of the first in New York City and fifth in the nation. 

“We also wanted to partner with Counter Culture Coffee, in which they are above the line of fair trade paying over $3 per pound for their coffee,” Tomblin said. “They also have a transparency policy amongst consumers and workers, which allows the growers to see what their coffee is being charged for, and allows consumers to see what they’re paying the growers. We chose to partner with Duthch Baby Bakery and Counter Culture Coffee because we felt that both those companies embodied good principles and took on initiatives we wanted to take on as a company as well.” 

“This is a very proud moment for us introducing a new type of coffee that has a heavy fair trade and transparency footprint,” Giles added.

Karah Rempe, owner of Dutch Baby Bakery, and her husband and business partner, Hugo Pinto, appreciate their chance to share their creations with the Manhattan campus. As a small business, Rempe started making cakes in her apartment on the weekends back in 2013. 

“I had two small little kids and it was my way to get started and we gradually grew until we became part of an incubator program for small businesses,” Rempe said. “And then a few years ago, we opened into our own space and have continued to grow exponentially.”

Dutch Baby Bakery now supplies about eight to ten restaurants and cafe shops daily —mostly from Harlem northward—with Manhattan College now included. 

“We feel really happy and proud to be a partner and be here on campus,” Rempe said. “It’s a really great opportunity for us as a small family owned business.”

Tomblin wanted to create something  unique on campus that wasn’t necessarily a name-brand coffee company and that’s why Rempe bakery was a perfect fit.

“Everything from Dutch Baby Bakery is phenomenal, she really puts her heart into what she does and has a great product,” he said.

Karah Rempe grew up around baking; her grandmother worked at a Dutch bakery where Rempe used to visit and learn the trade. 

“Baking is all about family,” Rempe said. “We’re called Dutch Baby Bakery because I’m Dutch. I learned baking from my Dutch grandmother who worked at a Dutch bakery and all of her friends used to speak Dutch in the bakery. As a kid, it just seemed like a magical place to me where you could get a cream puff and just sit and listen and let people be really nice to you.” 

“To me, baking has always been a way to take care of people and express that kind of love and gratitude,” Rempe said. “So our sort of mantra at the bakery is that everything we make is something we’d be proud to serve for our family. Everything we make is just incredibly fresh and best the day of, we don’t use preservatives so it’s meant to be enjoyed right at that moment. I love making seasonal products with really fresh ingredients and that’s part of why our menu does change.” 

The space of Sip&Chill is intended to encourage students to hangout, study and enjoy their favorite treats on campus. 

“We’re not just a random company coming in with a different situation, we are a part of the community. It is very important to us that the students know we are here for them, to serve them and make this experience as comfortable as possible,” Giles said.