Brandon University’s new cafe for ‘community gathering’


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A historically popular Brandon University hangout spot got a jolt of life Friday morning, as members of the student union hosted a grand opening for their new cafe in the school’s Knowles-Douglas building.

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A historically popular Brandon University hangout spot got a jolt of life Friday morning, as members of the student union hosted a grand opening for their new cafe in the school’s Knowles-Douglas building.

While the new business, called Bailey’s, after the BU Bobcats mascot, has quietly operated since December, Friday’s ceremony gave the Brandon University Students’ Union (BUSU) a chance to showcase how the cafe could function at full capacity.

“It’s so packed now and this is what we wanted,” BUSU president Olufunke Adeleye told the Sun right after she picked up a coffee.

“We wanted it to be like a community gathering for both the BU community, and even the Brandon community can come in here.”

BU pupils and staff have flocked to this particular spot on campus for decades, with the Student Union Drinking Spot (SUDS) having operated out of the Knowles-Douglas building for 30 years.

After the bar closed its doors in 2017, the space has undergone a couple of name changes, having served as an outlet for Forbidden Flavours coffee that was shuttered due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

While the student union attempted to revitalize the spot with Bobbies’ Bistro in early 2022, that project eventually fizzled out and forced members to go back to the drawing board.

However, Adeleye said Bailey’s has a better chance of succeeding now that the current student union has more experience with business management and more direct control over the new venture.

“We’re doing it a little bit differently by looking at what people in Brandon University want, what kind of food items do we not have,” she said.

“On Friday, we had a special, which was food from Nigeria, because a couple of international students mentioned that ‘we don’t have a place to eat our own food on campus’ … so it’s about doing those little things that make this place feel homey.”

The driving force behind Bailey’s day-to-day operations is general manager Sean Taron, who’s worked at BU Food Services for 14 years and jumped at the opportunity to make his own mark in the local culinary scene.

“I’ve been cooking for 24 years now with lots of ideas in my head, and this is a great opportunity to get them all out there,” he said Friday morning.

Taron’s main vision for Bailey’s is to simply cultivate a relaxing atmosphere where BU staff and students can enjoy a nice selection of coffee, tea and comfort food as they prepare for exams or unwind after a long day of classes.

“So, we’ve got fresh paninis, flatbreads and we have nachos and fries, wings, chicken fingers,” he said. “All the stuff where you can just order a bunch of food with your friends and hang out for the night.”

Moving forward, BUSU is planning to boost Bailey’s profile by expanding the menu and hosting various social events, with the hope of giving the BU community a little taste of normalcy after large swathes of the population were forbidden from visiting the campus due to COVID-19 restrictions.

“It really is one more sign of how we’re getting through this and coping and getting out on the other side,” BU president David Docherty said during the grand-opening ceremony.

Taron and the student union are even in the process of obtaining a liquor licence for the establishment, a revelation that also drew Docherty’s praise Friday morning.

“I look forward to a cold winter day, at four o’clock, when you’re licensed, and I can have some Baileys while I’m in Bailey’s,” the BU president said.

Bailey’s is open Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.


» Twitter: @KyleDarbyson

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