Have you ever wanted to sip on an espresso in an Italian piazza, or get a flakey croissant at a French boulangerie, because if you have, the water tower’s travel unit has the spot for you. Tucked away beneath the earth lies a once lost, European feeling, treasure of the UVM campus. A place where you can get a “Giant Carnival Cookie,” a coffee, or a grab-and-go meal. Where you can sit and relax under the low ceilings, egg-colored walls, and fluorescent lighting. Where you sit, fenced in by rod iron posts, in the middle of a hallway occupied by Student Financial Services faculty members. If this sounds at all appealing, then you should mosey over to the basement of the Charles W. Waterman building, and take your place at The Waterman Café!
The Waterman Café has been closed for the past three years due to Covid-19, leaving many people to wonder – How do I get there? Well, the water tower has you covered.
Enter the Waterman building, the enormous construction from a different era; with its greek pillars, and general Dead Poet Society feeling to it. Push past the thousand pound doors and swing a right, spotting the lesser traveled staircase heading down. Walk down those stairs, and gaze upon the weird charcoal death art to then enter the Waterman Basement. You are greeted by recessed floors of the Student Financial Services offices, and after taking a left you’ll see the café.
You walk into the European café-style patio, an area of the café surrounded by fenc- ing, where you can sit and dine, and listen to the wails of children losing their financial aid due to “budget cuts.” You feel comforted by the signs stating, “Hola,” “Bienvenue,” “Ciao,” and “Bună Ziua.” I can’t speak any foreign languages, but I choose to believe the signs are saying, “Hello” “Salutations,” “Greetings” and “Welcome.” I know I feel welcomed when a building tells me hello.
Beyond the patio, and through the enormous wooden door, lies the café itself. It is long and narrow, feeling like a Subway from 2004. With cream-colored walls and bath- room tile flooring, you feel relaxed as you pick out your $11 grab and go food. There are two distinct halves of the café; the upper deck, which is where one buys their goods and gets their drinks, and the lower deck, which is about 8 feet below the upper level, with red pleather booths to sit and eat in. The lower level feels like an intimate Italian restaurant, where you’d be served the best risotto of your life by a beautiful person. Both levels are connected by a staircase. Separating the two levels like this creates efficient and productive use of space. It builds two distinct spaces to ponder your greatest quandaries.
Additionally, the café is littered with beautiful art from various world-renowned artists. Images of bowls of food and cows are scattered around the place, cultivating the ambiance of a place I would want to stay in.
The food at the cafe is spectacular. While the kitchen might not be up and running, you can at least look at yourself eating in the reflection of the mirror finish of the cooking appliances. Despite the lack of a kitchen, the cafe offered cuisine from around the globe. You could eat Italian, chicken, and penne pasta, with bricks of mozzarella; so cold you could use it as an ice pack for your sports injury. Or the traditional General Tso Chicken; a dish so traditional it was invented in 1973 in New York City.
Or maybe if food isn’t what you want, you could try the many different drinks! Grab yourself a blue Powerade, or maybe even a green mountain coffee. As you sip your coffee you’ll be able to taste the hardness of the water and the complete lack of actual coffee taste.
The Waterman Café has something for everybody. Whether you are a busy, work work work type, or a relaxed, go-with-the-flow type; The Waterman Café will work for you. It is freshly opened after two years of closure, and they would love to have all your retail points spent there.
They want you to come in, take a load off, and know that all your worries about the outside world don’t matter here. You are underground as you sit in this café, how could you be stressed while underground? So from us, we wholeheartedly recommend you give this place a visit. And do not forget, when you get your food, make sure to tell the checkout employee the water tower sent you!
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