Smoothie bar to ‘Blend’ into Lily Center lobby

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Named after their smoothie product called "blends", this nook of the
Welch Fitness Center lobby is the proposed home of the smoothie bar, Blend.
Blend will offer nutritious additives to its products such as
hemp and chia seed as well as protein powders.
SAM CARAVANA/ THE DEPAUW

When students return to campus from spring break they may be greeted by a smoothie bar in the lobby of the Lily Center.

The smoothie serving operation will be called Blend and will serve nutritious smoothies called “blends” potentially as soon as April 1. 

The idea came to fruition through multiple pathways. Senior Maggie Anderson thought up the concept as part of a group project for an entrepreneurship course. Anderson and her classmates derived the idea after seeing a gap in the market.

“We don’t have that fix of smoothies. We don’t have that nutritional option,” said Anderson. “You can’t get any kind of natural smoothie at DQ or McDonalds.”

Anderson and her classmates decided to close the gap in the market with a smoothie bar that would serve nutritious frozen drinks and be housed in the large lobby of the Lily Center.

“We wanted an opportunity or option on campus for students, faculty, community members—everybody to enjoy something natural and wholesome,” said Anderson who has become an intern for Bon Appetit to help with the project.

DePauw Student Government also played a role in Blend’s creation. Student government members Charlie Douglas and Ellen Tinder authored a white paper that also proposed a smoothie bar on campus after talking to fellow students.

“All of the students we talked to seemed to support having a healthier option on campus for snacks and drinks,” said Tinder in an email.

Blend’s menu of frozen drinks will not be set in stone and will vary with the seasons and student feedback.

  “It will be a very fluid menu,” said Jason Rose, the General Manager for Bon Appetit on campus. Rose said the menu will follow the company’s farm to fork policy which requires chefs to purchase 20% of produce from small farms within 150 miles. 

“When in season and when available we will have fresh fruits,” said Rose. “We’re limited by geographic location, but the whole focus is fresh.” 

The tentative menu provided by Anderson features fruity drinks such a the “World's Best Blend” which contains strawberries, bananas, orange juice and low fat yogurt. It will also offer blend’s with vegetable like the “Super Spinach Blend” which has spinach, bananas and apple juice. Customers will also have the option to create their own smoothie.

To augment beverages, Blend will offer protein powder, flaxseed and chia seeds as additives for the smoothies. Smoothies will be offered in a single size, 16oz, and will tentatively cost between $3.75 and $4.25.

In addition to beverages, Blend will offer healthy snacks such as homemade granola bars. “We’ll have things that teeter to the side of healthy and that are healthy alternatives and snacks that provide your body energy to work out,” said Rose.

The opening of Blend is still up in the air. “A lot of it’s dependent upon the architectural drawings and submission to the state,” said Rose. Rose hopes that the cafe will have soft openings and tastings in late March leading up to its formal opening. “I think April 1 will be the grand opening,” said Rose. 

The hours of the operation are still being finalized. Blend’s hours will try to capture when Lily is being used most. “We’re looking quite possibly at a 12 a.m. to 6p.m. range for now,” said Rose.

Stevie Baker-Watson greeted the idea of a smoothie bar near her office with open arms. “We’re hoping to make the Lily Lobby more of a destination for people to come sit and hang out for awhile. I think anytime you have the opportunity to bring food and beverage into that space it creates more of an atmosphere for people to sit and hang out,” said Watson.

While Blend will be managed by Bon Appetit and hire students, Anderson hopes students will take control eventually. “Hopefully it will be all students not just running the bar or making the smoothies, but also a board of directors like a marketing position, an operations position,” said Anderson. “That’s the goal.”