Campus café continues to satisfy cravings
Students are pouring into The Nook Café by the hundreds daily, said the Nook’s manager, kinesiology junior Manny Martinez.
Located at the end of the strip stores across from Calhoun Lofts, The Nook Café sees approximately 500 guests a day from 7 a.m. to midnight. Students keep coming back for their specialty drinks, including the White Snake, a French vanilla mocha with dark chocolate and hazelnut, and the Beanst, a mix of coffee and beer.
“Why should people come to the Nook? For better coffee,” Martinez said.
The juices are also a treat. The Nook’s fruit comes from the farmer’s market, and the juices are made fresh daily. The beer is also local, from either Houston or Texas breweries. Soon, the Nook will introduce a $1-off happy hour from 3 to 7 p.m. that features a local brewery.
Alongside the drinks, The Nook Café offers an assortment of pastries, such as their red velvet cake, Shasta’s Pride, and Cougar pride is evident in every nook and cranny of the Nook, which was owner and alumnus Derek Shaw’s intention.
“It’s a good place to study, hang out with friends,” Martinez said. “(Shaw) wanted a place on campus where people can hang out. He did go here, and there wasn’t anywhere to hang out on campus, so that’s why he put it here.”
The scenery is student-friendly. On the chalkboard walls are scribbles from students parading Cougar pride, comical drawings, notes and even self-promotions for the current student government elections. Though the chalk art changes daily, the student artwork on canvases spotted throughout the café changes every two months. Students can contact the Nook via Facebook to submit art.
The industrial, collective scenery is something marketing junior Rey Blanco enjoys about the Nook. He said the Nook’s wood walls, which look fresh from a construction site, and mix-and-matched square tables made of door cutouts, plus the laid-back environment, make the Nook his favorite campus hangout.
“It’s just really convenient for me to come here to just grab a coffee in the morning and then just to meet with my friends, like to work on stuff or just hang out. It’s a nice gathering spot,” Blanco said.
Sociology senior Michael Lenmark said he plans to make the Nook a usual hangout. He said the drink selection has something for every mood, and the chalk art gives a unique perspective on students’ thoughts and inspires him to “just chill.” But the music selection, consisting of artists such as The Killers and Nirvana, is intriguing.
“I found I pull out my phone and search Shazam. Even though I’ve only been here twice, I keep using it, and it recognizes the music, and that’s something I have to do here,” Lenmark said.
“I just love the atmosphere. I just look around here and I just see a lot of freedom, a lot of emotion and art.”
Hotel and restaurant management senior Eugenia Gonzalez said she also relishes the Nook’s ambience and that it brings the UH community together by adding another social setting. She also said she likes the freedom of expression on the walls.
“We need more spots on campus that really bring the campus to life on weekends or at night or in between classes, so that, for example, our commuter students can have more places to hang out and be able to bond with other students and have more of a college experience,” Gonzalez said.