DePauw students plan to open a restaurant to add variety

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Students who choose to stay on campus this Winter Term are in for a treat.
Seniors Madeline LeClair and Christina Oberrieder, and first-year Peter Nelson are in the process of opening a restaurant on campus during Winter Term so students can get some variety in their meal choices.
LeClair originally had the idea of opening up a restaurant for Winter Term when, after spending the past two winter terms cooking in India and China, her friend convinced her to follow her dream of opening a restaurant.
“I’ve known for a long time that I want a restaurant,” LeClair said.
When she spoke about her idea at a seminar for Management Fellows, Nelson jumped right in.
“I’m very passionate about this. This would be my dream: to be involved in the restaurant business,” he said.
Oberrieder, friend and sorority sister of LeClair joined the project recently, when a couple of people who originally showed interest had to drop the project due to time constraints.
LeClair believes this could be great practice for when she opens her own restaurant one day.
“I don’t want to work for a company one day,” LeClair said. “I want to work my own company, not only because you can be your own boss, but because you can make a change in the world if you see a lacking in the market.”
Nelson added that the project is “something great to put on your résumé and get experience.”
However, their goals for their restaurant are centered on more than just for themselves. They hope that, if their project is successful, they can encourage other DePauw students to attempt similar projects in the coming years.
“It’s something really different, and I feel like it could open a door, especially with DePauw trying to be more entrepreneurship-focused,” LeClair said.
LeClair thinks her restaurant could be a nice alternative to the Hub or the Den during winter term this year for those who have become frustrated with the new dining system introduced this year.
LeClair sent out a survey to students last week asking a range of questions relating to the types of foods that they would like to see more of on campus in an effort to cater their menu to the wants and needs of the students.
With 573 responses, she hopes that she will be able to accomplish this goal.
“It will give you another option, and, hopefully, since we asked the students what they want, it’ll be what they want,” LeClair said.
They caution students, however, that nothing is for certain.
“There are some major gaps in it,” LeClair said, adding that they have yet to answer questions such as the location of the restaurant and how they will supply funds that the University cannot cover.
Winter Term proposals are due on Sept. 27, and the trio still has many kinks to work out and permits to obtain, but LeClair remains hopeful.
“If we make the project proposal strong enough, then I feel like they wouldn’t say no,” she said. “I hope it works out. I really do.”