Dear old Birch,
As I sit here typing at one of the middle-school-cafeteria-esque tables that have replaced your cozy booths, I can’t help but sigh wistfully and think of how much I miss you.
You were more than just a little café below a campus apartment building. Sure, your food pickup area used to get a little more cramped and hectic, but that’s not what us UMD students remember you for. You had class. You had style. You had atmosphere. We dug your funky vibe. With your row of booths and colorful lights, you were the closest thing we had to a restaurant on campus, a shining glimmer of hope for the attendees of the so-called ugliest campus in America.
But they stripped you of all that, and left you looking plain and ordinary. And when they took out all the things that made you special, they took a small piece of every student’s heart as well.
You were the perfect hangout spot. A place where art and music students would gather to finally enjoy a meal after a long night spent in CVPA. A place that seemed especially inviting to circles of friends (literally), as squeezing into those little booth benches could actually be a wonderful bonding experience. And a place for partygoers to fill their stomachs before heading off to the Dells for an evening of alcohol consumption. And your cool look added to the pre-party experience.
As I walked over to you for the first time this semester, I felt excited. But it wasn’t you I saw. It was merely a shadow of what you used to be, and even worse because it was still under construction. I frantically asked one of the employees if whoever was in charge of this renovation planned to restore you to your former glory, and my face fell when I heard her answer: No, this new version of you—this tasteless, lackluster version of you—was here to stay.
Old Birch Grill, us UMass Dartmouth students want you to know that you live on in our memories (and our Snapchat Memories). I took you for granted, and I’m sorry. Now you’re gone and I miss you sorely. I still keep hope in my heart, though, that whoever is responsible for your changes will realize their mistakes and make you the super-chill café you once were.
Dissatisfied in Dartmouth (and an avid consumer of your delicious tomato mozzarella panini, which is now gone too)