The long-awaited reopening of the New College Four Winds Cafe became reality on Nov. 15 when the location was occupied by the local German bakery chain, Mama G’s.
The student-operated, always evolving Four Winds was an essential part of the campus since the late 1990s. Student involvement was phased out over time, and the cafe closed down temporarily in 2019. It reopened again that year, just to get shut down in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In December 2022, Four Winds opened its doors once again, but only as a study and meeting space for students and faculty.
Although the cafe is no longer operated by students, food and drinks are available once again in the morning and afternoon. Mama G’s is now open Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Mama G’s is a successful German bakery chain founded by Beate “Mama G” Goldstein, who opened the first Sarasota location in 2015. Not long after in 2018, her eldest daughter, Jaqueline, opened a location in St. Petersburg.
Jake Hunter, Goldstein’s son-in-law, spoke with the Catalyst about the opening of Mama G’s at New College and the success it has had in Sarasota:
“This is technically the fourth location. There’s one in St. Pete, one right across the street [near New College] and there’s one in south Sarasota. It’s a nice small town for restaurants like this.”
The cafe features a fridge with pies and beverages, including orange juice and kombucha in addition to coffee, tea and pastries. Hunter also spoke about food and beverage availability and the importance of having a good variety throughout each week:
“[At this location] our selection varies a little bit; we don’t have the same things every day. We kinda take 75 percent-ish of Mama G’s variety, and throughout the week we’ll be bringing in different things. A little variety would keep people happy. I know there aren’t many food options, especially without a vehicle. There’s not much within walking distance.”
The coffee and smoothies are customizable by the student as well, with students having the option of additional shots of flavoring.
“The shots are $0.60, you can pick and choose what you like. Technically, the shots you can throw in absolutely any drink that we make, it’s just up to what your preferences are,” Hunter said.
Hunter also spoke about possible changes in the future at this new location:
“All of our drinks are the exact same as the original menu, the smoothies as well. We’re talking about doing different ones. I feel like if these ones sell, though, we probably won’t. Probably around the holidays, around Christmas, we’re going to start doing some bigger lunches, bring in the German lunches. If we’re busy enough, I feel like it’ll be worth it to have more volume.”
Hunter also commented on the location being a fitting addition to campus and his hope for the future of the café and campus engagement:
“I definitely think it adds a little bit to the campus life, that gives everyone a spot to come in and relax, do some studying, hang out and meet other students a little bit, chat. So many people have been coming in, saying, ‘I didn’t know this was here!’ So, I’m hoping there will be more people coming in here soon.”
Although it is not what it once was in terms of student involvement in management of the location, there is once again a new food option on the Bayfront side of the New College campus.