Global Village Cafe (GVC) — operated by Hoffman’s Bistro since 2012 in McHenry Library — will be evicted on Oct. 16. While the McHenry Library administration is still in negotiation with a new tenant, the future vendor is tentatively expected to be Cafe Brasil, said GVC owner and UC Santa Cruz alumnus Adam Hoffman.
The university hasn’t issued an official reason for Hoffman’s eviction, but Hoffman said GVC was late on rent three times — October 2014, November 2014 and June 2015. According to the GVC lease, “either party may terminate this lease without cause and without further obligation.” Hoffman’s received a statement of termination on July 16 and keys to the cafe were asked to be returned in 90 days. With this clause, the university isn’t required to issue a reason for terminating the lease.
“Although we were behind on [these] occasions, Hoffman’s prioritized catching up with our payments to UCSC in the timeliest manner possible,” Hoffman said. “Hoffman’s is and has been current on every rent and all payments to UCSC since the June incident.”
After receiving notice of contract termination, Hoffman’s asked UCSC for a contract extension, either to the end of the quarter or the end of the school year, but its request was denied.
“The situation is rather heartbreaking, for myself and my family,” Hoffman said. “But, the university has very strict policies with payment on time.”
GVC’s average monthly rent is $8,200, which is a percentage based on the cafe’s monthly revenue. An average day at GVC consists of about 1,000 customers, which doesn’t include Hoffman’s customers and revenue from its downtown brunch location.
The popular location in McHenry Library was created as part of a $350,000 donation from Stephen Silberstein and William Ackerknecht to create an environmentally-aware and responsible food provider modeled on UC Berkeley’s Free Speech Cafe. With a commitment to fresh and organic food, McHenry Library seeks a vendor who can meet the health standards the space requires.
Longtime Cafe Brasil employee Natasha Malia was unable to confirm whether the already-busy restaurant will extend its services beyond its Mission Street location to UCSC’s campus. Cafe Brasil also owns Amazon Juices on 41st Avenue in Capitola. Malia said Cafe Brasil’s clientele is around 90 percent students, and GVC would potentially be “a good fit,” but she will not know until next week if it will be moving into the space.
Since the GVC space is very small, Hoffman said operating in the cafe with “limited facilities” is a challenge that the future vendor must work around and the majority of food preparation must be done offsite.
With no vendor operating in the Quarry Plaza’s restaurant space for at least the remainder of the quarter, associate university librarian John Bono said students are wondering how long it will be before a new vendor in McHenry is up and running. The tentative start date for an alternative restaurant is Nov. 16, leaving the east side of campus with limited food options.
“We had an inquiry about the possibility of extending food truck service to just outside of GVC,” Bono said. “But because the food truck sites are selected to preserve access for emergency vehicles, what we ended up with was the Digital Arts Research Center being the nearest available space [for food trucks].”
Bono explained that while GVC is between vendors, the library will have to manage short-term revenue loss without compromising library-operated programs. He said it’s in the best interest to both students and the library administration to have a vendor operating as soon as possible.
“The thing that we all acknowledged, and the concern that we share, is for the people most impacted by this change — the [student] employees who provided good service over a long period of time,” Bono said.
At least 17 UCSC students and several kitchen staff will be out of work when GVC closes. Adam Hoffman said that one staff member was offered a full-time position at Hoffman’s restaurant downtown. He also hopes to recommend several long-time student staff to the next vendor.
“I don’t remember exactly when I was told [about the closure] but it was about a month ago in-email and in-person,” said third-year student and GVC worker Claire Miller. “I’m not sure what company is taking over the GVC, and the Hoffmans can’t assure me a job with the new owners, of course, but I do hope to get a job when it does open back up.”
Bono said the upcoming vendor has interest in hiring students who currently work at GVC. He said it “makes sense from an operations standpoint to have access to people who have experience working in that unique operation.” Students interested in future or continued employment at GVC are encouraged to contact Bono directly.
Since McHenry re-opened in 2012 after a six-year renovation process, Hoffman’s at GVC has been a go-to food option for students across campus. While Hoffman’s has struggled as a small business during a major recession, Adam Hoffman is confident the downtown location will continue its success. He said GVC helped “propel [them] financially” and stabilize the franchise.
“Starting the GVC was cool for me because it is something that I wish would have been there when I was going to school there,” Hoffman said. “I hope it doesn’t leave too big of a void, I hope the next vendor has a successful transition. They have a really good product on the Mission Street location.”
Additional reporting by Keiera Bradley