by Erich Kaletka
What’s the point of a pub that doesn’t serve alcohol? Nutella milkshakes and tasty sandwiches, of course — at least at Peirce Pub. Last semester, Nite Bites, a student-owned and operated business that sells milkshakes, sandwiches and other snack foods to students, took a hiatus to restructure its operational style and management order to keep things flowing smoothly in the future, since the last of the original owners is on track to graduate this spring. Nite Bites reopened this past Sunday with a celebration featuring the Owl Creek and Chasers a capella groups and College President Sean Decatur serving students. According to a member of the new management team, David Thoessen ’17, Sunday was the company’s most profitable night on record.
Nite Bites CEO and co-owner Reagan Tsimakoko ’15 said there shouldn’t be many changes to the services provided by Nite Bites following the closing and reorganization that took place at the end of last semester. “We’re in a hybrid position, because [also] before the people who owned it ran it, so they had some skin in the game,” Tsimakoko said. “Now we are trying to build a management structure because running a business is very time-consuming and keeping a loose structure may not be a good move for the company.” He is unsure of what the future ownership dynamics will be, but for now, an executive board has been created to ensure the continued survival of the company.
Dani Gorton ’18 is on the new board of Nite Bites. She began working with Nite Bites in October. While not directly a part of the restructuring process, Gorton is on new staff. “As owners graduated, there weren’t enough people to do all the work, so last semester Reagan wanted to restructure then start up again,” she said.
Along with the restructuring, there are new additions to the menu: banana milkshakes, nachos, and a new variety of sandwiches.
Nite Bites has operated out of Peirce Pub since the 2011-2012 school year. The current pub is a relatively new development on campus, only taking its current form after the 2008 renovations to Peirce Hall, according to College Historian and Keeper of Kenyoniana Tom Stamp ’73.
“The pub used to be known as ‘The Shoppes’ and was a College-run coffee shop,” Stamp said. “‘The Shoppes’ was only about one-third the size of the current pub area.” In 1996, the pub took its current name, according to Kenyonhistory.net, though Stamp said he did not “know of any future plans for the College to serve alcohol to students,” in Peirce or otherwise.
He also mentioned that the space is technically not alcohol free, although students are not allowed to be served or consume alcohol within it. Official functions such as alumni dinners can serve alcohol at Peirce. Tsimakoko explained that Nite Bites would like a license. It’s something that could be looked into but not anytime soon saying,“The process to attain a liquor license is both a long and grueling process. The benefit must outweigh the cost in all business decisions.”
Nite Bites is allowed to use the pub space free of charge, “on the basis that we provide valuable employment to students as well as providing a service to the community,” Tsimakoko said. Nite Bites is held to the same health and safety standards as AVI, due to the proximity in which the two function.
Tsimakoko and Gorton expressed their hope that Nite Bites will remain a permanent fixture on campus, unlike the other services that have used the space in the past.