Wean Hall and La Prima Espresso Re-Open to the Community
- Director of Marketing, Student Affairs
Wean Lobby and La Prima Espresso, located on the fifth floor of Wean Hall, were renovated this summer and have re-opened to the community. The goals of the project align with the strategic plan of the university and of Carnegie Mellon's Dining Services program: to improve the customer experience, support community, and encourage social interaction.
The renovation was collaboratively funded by the President’s Office, Provost’s Office and Dining Services, and guided by goals of the Task Force on the CMU Experience to enhance campus infrastructure.
The renovation of the dining venue and lobby area includes:
- A new entrance, expanding the Wean lobby area
- Additional espresso machines and registers for increased speed of service
- Improved traffic patterns and queuing, resulting in more circulation space and improved wait times
- Enhanced indoor seating
- Improved lighting
- Expanded food and beverage offerings
Founded in 1988, La Prima Espresso Company is Pittsburgh’s only certified organic coffee roaster. In addition to the CMU location, La Prima operates a roaster and wholesale operation in Manchester, a neighborhood on the North Side, and retail locations in the Strip District and Nova Place, also on the North Side.
La Prima has operated the coffee kiosk in Wean Hall for 26 years. "La Prima is a staple of Pittsburgh and the Carnegie Mellon campus community," shares Pascal Petter, Carnegie Mellon University’s Director of Dining Services. "We are excited about the transformation of this extremely popular location into a true Italian espresso bar experience. It's a renovation that is long overdue.”
La Prima continues to serve exceptional Italian-style coffee and espresso, including the signature fair-trade, organic blend, only available at the CMU location. The reconfigured space has allowed La Prima to bring new coffee experiences to campus, including iced coffee on tap and nitro coffee, a frothy and bubbly cold-brew. Baked goods and grab-and-go sandwiches, salads, and sides continue to be sourced from La Prima's local vendor partnerships - Mediterra Bakehouse and Common Plea Catering.
"Our partnerships with local vendors are important to us,” says Michael Bogden, Director of Retail Operations and Quality Control at La Prima. "In response to customer demand and in support of Dining Services’ efforts to serve healthier dining options, we are working to feature an expanded menu with an emphasis on vegetarian and vegan fare made locally in Pittsburgh. Look for additions to the menu in the coming weeks.”
The upgraded space has created a completely new experience for guests, whether it be to stop for a quick shot of espresso on the way to class, quietly enjoy a pastry and a coffee while studying, or sip a cold-brew coffee with while relaxing with friends.
Increased speed of service is a part of the new La Prima experience that everyone will appreciate. "Of all the great improvements this renovation has provided, we are most excited to be able to serve our customers at a faster pace,” says Bogden. "An additional espresso machine and register have decreased wait times and congestion in Wean lobby."
"Carnegie Mellon Dining Services aims to create spaces that are social and collaborative and that support the needs of our local dining vendors so that they can do their best work for our community,” says Pascal Petter. “The Wean Lobby and La Prima renovation has elevated the dining and community experience at one of the most beloved dining locations on campus and has been a major milestone toward our goal of becoming a best-in-class campus dining program."