TCAT announced the opening of a café on Sept. 23, at its flagship Green Street Station, 131 E. Green St.
Adil Griguihi, co owner of Casablanca Pizzeria and Mediterranean Restaurant in the Ithaca Commons, recently signed a 3 year contract with TCAT to sublease 450 square feet of the 1,400 square foot station to open what he plans to call “Ithaca Coffee Shop.”
“This space is perfect with all the foot traffic,” said Griguihi. Initially, Griguihi said the menu will include coffee, cold drinks, soups and sandwiches but added: “I am going to build the menu based on what people want.”
Griguihi’s hours of operation will be 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays. TCAT passengers are not required to make a purchase to enjoy the comfortable, climate controlled station and to use the restrooms, but now they will have the opportunity to grab a snack or a light meal during their bus travels.
“The vision behind this facility is to provide a state of the art amenity for our passengers to make transit traveling more attractive and convenient,’’ said Dan Tome, TCAT’s purchasing and projects manager. “Not only is this great for passengers but for the entire downtown community that is seeing a rebirth with numerous improvements, including the Commons rebuild project.”
Green Street Station, TCAT’s No. 1 hub with 450,000 boarding a year, has been in transition for the past several months after the departure of the previous tenant who decided to pursue other business opportunities. Since then, TCAT has repainted the interior of the station, which opened in November, 2009 as part of the Ithaca Center City Project. TCAT selected Griguihi who responded to an official request Tome publicized this past spring.
“What stands out about Adil is his familiarity and experience working in the Ithaca Commons he gained with his successful pizzeria,” Tome said. “TCAT staff and board members are impressed with Adil’s can do spirit, and particularly his enthusiasm in learning what his customers want.”
Green Street Pharmacy, located just next door to the station in the meantime, will continue selling Tcard bus passes, as it has for nearly a year.
TCAT has leased space from Cayuga Green LLC since 2009 and built the station as part of the Ithaca Center City Project, which also included the rehabilitation of TCAT’s Seneca Street Station – another major TCAT hub.
“We not only aim to offer reliable and safe transportation, but to also make public transit comfortable and enjoyable with extras, whether it be a nice cup of coffee in the morning before the morning commute or simply a waiting area away from the elements,’’ said TCAT General Manager Joe Turcotte. “As our ridership continues to climb now to about 4.5 million annual trips a year, our focus needs to remain on creating the best passenger experience possible.”