The Shakedown Café, Pitzer College’s student-run cooperative restaurant, reopened earlier this month following the reopening of Pitzer College’s Gold Student Health and Wellness Center.
The Shakedown is collectively managed by a staff of approximately 15 students, who each take on a different responsibility, including sourcing—with an emphasis on local, organic and sustainable produce—farm communication, finances, publicity and staff management.
The café was forced to close during the 2013-2014 remodeling of the Gold Center, and though attendance has not yet been what it was before the remodel, the restaurant still serves at least 50 students each night.
“We’re slowly getting our name back out there, and we hope to see surges in patronage over the next few months,” said Cassidy Shea PZ ’16, one of the café managers.
Shea also emphasized the sense of community at the restaurant, an opinion echoed by another student manager, Jael Berger PZ ’16.
“Though we use the term ‘manager,’ we don’t want to give off the impression that we run in the same hierarchical manner as many restaurants,” Berger said.
The organization’s flexible structure allows each worker the opportunity to learn how to work in and run a kitchen. Students learn techniques of cooking, such as proper knife usage, as well as restaurant-related business skills like sourcing and finances.
“They each put in dozens of hours each week into the student-run café,” Drew Herbert, Pitzer’s Associate Dean of Students, wrote in an email to TSL.
Berger said that the café is a focal point for the Pitzer community.
“The Shakedown is a community space that brings students together by serving delicious food and creating a loving, supportive, fun atmosphere for everyone to get what they need out of their time there,” he said. “Whether it’s doing homework, eating dinner—or a second dinner, procrastinating, catching up with friends, listening to awesome music or meeting new people, the Shakedown is an essential aspect of Pitzer and all 5C life.”
Anisha Leob PZ ’18 said that she uses the Shakedown as a space to escape stress.
“I love to eat and hang out in the Shakedown,” Leob said. “The food is great, and the atmosphere is relaxing.”
The Shakedown Café is open Monday through Thursday from 6 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. and Sundays from 6 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.