Gannon University students have been waiting for years to acquire a location where they can simply hang out. This week, that location will finally be open, at the corner of West Fourth and Sassafras streets – the former home of the One Green World Café.
Though this project has been in the works since the beginning of this school year, a couple of new key developments will be unwrapped this week: a name and a date.
The new location is called The Knight Club, and it will be open for regular hours starting Thursday.
According to Angela Coustillac, president of the Student Government Association and a senior legal studies and political science major, students have been pining for a location like The Knight Club since before she arrived on campus.
Coustillac said the club won’t be having any specials right away, but interested students can look for coupons in future editions of The Knight. She said the opening on Thursday is intended to be low-key, so the staff can get used to being in business.
“We’re finally providing students with a late-night alternative,” she said. “The special in itself is that it’s finally opening.”
Sam Hyman, technical director for campus events at Gannon, has been working on this project since its inception this summer. He said The Knight Club is going to be a great place to come and hang out, and it will be a safe alternative to the late-night scene in downtown Erie.
As of right now, Hyman said, the standard hours are 5-11 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday and noon to 9 p.m. Sunday. He said these are tentative, though, based on the students’ response.
n fact, Hyman said, except for the name, a lot of aspects of The Knight Club are tentative at this point. One of the ideas behind opening so soon is to get people’s feet wet, so they can provide suggestions to make the location better.
The club will have a suggestion box where students can offer input into the food, hours or any other aspect of the location. “We’re here to stay,” Hyman said. “We want to make sure the students like what we’re doing.”
One thing students might like is that the food at The Knight Club will be different from anywhere else on campus, and it won’t be affiliated with Metz Dining Services. Hyman said that while Metz has provided them with some advice as to how to proceed with a full kitchen, the club will be 100 percent Gannon-run.
“They’ve been very helpful,” Hyman said, “but they have nothing to do with this project.”
Instead, Julie Glazier from the Sidewalk Café has taken the job as kitchen manager.
Not only will the club offer free popcorn all the time, but Glazier will be cooking up all kinds of food previously foreign to the Gannon campus kitchens, such as an array of appetizers including homemade potato chips, nachos, french fries (with cheese or Greek sauce), mozzarella sticks and chicken wings. For lunch and dinner, the club will offer a wide selection of sandwiches, including burgers and chicken sandwiches, salads, chicken tenders, omelets and more.
The Knight Club will also offer a cooler case with premade sandwiches, salads and wraps, as well as weekly specials. Finally, the club will feature its own full menu of beverages, including signature slushies and iced tea.
Coustillac said the menu is going to be one of the major components that students will enjoy at The Knight Club. She said Gannon hasn’t really had a place like this before, where they can just hang out. “Waldron is a great place during the day, but once it hits 4 or 5 o’clock there’s nothing to do there,” she said. “It’s still a university building with classrooms. It has that feel.”
Hyman said the suggestion box will play deeply into the menu, particularly while the club is still getting used to being open. “The menu is in flux until we talk to students,” he said. “We want you to be able to tell us if there’s something you don’t like so we can fix it.”
Likewise, he said if there’s anything students would like to see added to the menu, they are welcome to submit it to the suggestion box.
While food is a major component of The Knight Club, it’s far from the only thing the location will have to offer. Hyman said the space has pool tables and dart boards, both of which will be used for competitive tournaments.
Additionally, there will be TVs for viewing sports, a Touch Tunes digital jukebox and an area for live performances, including theater, music and poetry. Hyman said the Activities Programming Board will be hosting its live performances at The Knight Club from now on, instead of in Club LaRiccia.
While The Knight Club is gearing up for success, plans as to what will happen to the One Green World Café are still in the air. Hyman said the project is on an “indefinite hiatus” for the time being, but that it will reopen at some point in the future. When and where it will open, however, is still being contemplated.
Hyman did say that one possibility would be opening the café in the library, as part of its renovation in the coming years. But they’re still in the drawing board stage for now.
Regardless, The Knight Club is a different venue entirely from One Green World. Coustillac urges students who haven’t seen it yet to go take a look.
“It’s definitely a different vibe from a year ago,” she said.