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Harvard’s Lamont Cafe opened its doors Tuesday afternoon after a three-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic — the latest in a string of student-run campus eateries making their returns after pandemic closures.
Alexandre V. Gontchar, a fellow in Harvard’s Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, said he is “excited” about the reopening of the cafe, which is located on the first floor of Lamont Library.
“This place — the opening of LamCaf, the famous LamCaf — signifies that we might be very close to back to normal after Covid,” Gontchar said.
During the hiatus, Gontchar still met with students at the cafe, but “the place felt cold.”
“I think people were hoping that it would become vibrant again,” he said. “I think that the opening of the Lamont Cafe today marks exactly this point.”
Delilah Brown, the assistant manager of both the Lamont and Barker cafes, said that, when reopening Lamont Cafe, she considered issues of student comfort in light of the pandemic.
“With students feeling anxious about coming back in big spaces or large groups, how can we make them feel more comfortable?” Brown said. “How can we get students back collaborating with one another, communicating with one another, and working together again, and feeling safe in those environments?”
Despite concerns surrounding student engagement, Brown said the cafe’s opening day had “an amazing turnout.”
“We’ve also had a couple of students that are looking for jobs,” she said. “I see that there’s a lot of excitement for students who want to get involved in not only just coming to the cafes but also working and being a part of the cafe culture here.”
Vihaan Gupta ’27 visited the cafe Tuesday evening looking for a place to study and grab a coffee. Being able to use Boardplus funds, he said, was “a cherry on top.”
“It’s a little social but not too loud, which is — I believe — a perfect environment for studying,” Gupta said. “The coffee is great. The vibe is great.”
Colette L. Tesoro ’26, who works as a barista in the cafe, said its reopening has been highly anticipated and well received, with “steady” attendance throughout the day.
“There are people who work in the building who said that they’ve been waiting for this for a while,” Tesoro said. “There’s been a couple big, smiling reactions when they see that it’s open.”
“I think it’ll be a good semester, and people will be excited to have a good coffee and study spot for late nights,” Tesoro added. “Hopefully next week, there will be more excitement and engagement.”
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