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Posted on Fri, Feb 15, 2013 : 5:58 a.m.

University of Michigan opens first 24-hour cafe

By Kellie Woodhouse

University of Michigan students looking to fuel their late-night studying now can walk to the Diag for a coffee, sandwich or pizza at the school's first-ever 24-hour dining option.


Bert's Cafe

U-M photo

U-M has extended Bert's Cafe's operating schedule to all hours during Sundays through Wednesdays. The cafe, in Shapiro Undergraduate Library on central campus, is the only 24-hour eatery on campus.

U-M student government president Manish Parikh began lobbying administrators for the 24-hour cafe in August. However, an all-hours cafe wasn't a possibility until the university transitioned Shapiro Library to a 24-hour schedule in October.

When running for student council in spring 2012, Parikh told voters he would push for the opening of a 24-hour cafe.

"It was our No. 1 campaign promise," Parikh said. "Students were... up studying late at night but didn't have coffee."

Student government had to first assess student demand for a 24-hour cafe before the university would implement it. A survey of more than 1,000 students found sufficient demand, Parikh said, and so the school launched the 24-hour cafe in mid-January.

Prior to extending the cafe's hours, the closest all-hours coffee option for students was the Starbucks at Arborland Shopping Center, 3601 Washtenaw Ave., said U-M food services director Keith Soster.

If the cafe is sufficiently frequented this semester, the school will open it again next semester.

"We consider this a pilot right now," Soster said. "We'll do a follow-up assessment and survey and we'll decide if it's truly sustainable from a financial standpoint."

On recent nights, the cafe has averaged between 150 and 170 transactions from 1 to 7 a.m.

Students who want to visit the cafe or library have to use their identification cards to gain access. The cafe will be staffed by two employees at all times.

Soster said Michigan State University also has a 24-hour cafe and offered U-M officials advice prior to extending Bert's Cafe's hours.

Kellie Woodhouse covers higher education for Reach her at or 734-623-4602 and follow her on twitter.



Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 9:01 p.m.

What Ann Arbor needs? Waffle House.


Fri, Feb 15, 2013 : 9:33 p.m.

Wait... the U doesn't pay taxes? Odd that I've never seen any commenters mention that before! Do spoiled, entitled students attend the University as well? Someone enlighten me, please. Too bad we can't somehow force the University to get the hell out of Ann Arbor! Hey U of M: Go plague someplace like Pontiac or Warren with your ample job opportunities, resulting vibrant local economy and stable real estate values!

Stephen Landes

Fri, Feb 15, 2013 : 8:56 p.m.

Perfect example of the difference between private enterprise and government: The "U" will only try this as an experiment, but private investor would be doing this to be successful. Students would be better served if the "U" contracted out the space to a private entity intent on doing whatever it takes to make a go of this enterprise.

Jay Thomas

Fri, Feb 15, 2013 : 8:10 p.m.

Another money making venture with no taxes paid by the U. [YAWN]


Fri, Feb 15, 2013 : 11:06 p.m.

On the same wave length. I wonder if there are going to be any problems with this or there are going to be limitations. Otherwise, get a nice coffee maker and go to town.


Fri, Feb 15, 2013 : 6:49 p.m.

I'll be happy to open up a 24 hour cafe for students downtown if I can have the same tax exempt status that University of Michigan has.


Fri, Feb 15, 2013 : 1:57 p.m.

Too bad for Apple that the U beat them to the punch before they launched their iThermos.

Lizzy Alfs

Fri, Feb 15, 2013 : 11:36 a.m.

This is a great thing for students. People are in the UGLi at all hours of the night, and I remember wanting a coffee or snack well after the cafe closed.

Kara Gavin

Fri, Feb 15, 2013 : 11:24 a.m.

Actually, the cafeteria in University Hospital has been 24/7 since 2007....and is often used by medical and nursing students, and medical residents, as well as U-M Health System patients, visitors, faculty and staff. Kara Gavin U-M Health System Public Relations


Fri, Feb 15, 2013 : 1:28 p.m.

While University Hospital Cafeteria might have been open 24/7 since 2007, I don't believe it is accessible to anyone who doesn't have official hospital business--any student can't just go over if they want coffee, which I believe is why Bert's is so significant. I remember a few friends of mine being booted from the hospital because they tried to camp out at the hospital caf, but were clearly not visiting anyone, or related to the hospital. My two cents.

Atlas Shrugged

Fri, Feb 15, 2013 : 12:52 p.m.

Oops on the UM Food Services Director, apparently. Yup, UH is a wee bit closer than Arborland.