Cornerstone Café provides relaxing study spaces, student-favorite drinks, snacks

(Jared Shuff | Collegian Media Group)

Studying and doing homework as a college student is often frustrating and difficult. That said, having a peaceful and quiet environment helps take the stress away while enjoying a snack or drink as well. For Kansas State students, the Cornerstone Café — with three locations across campus — offers the stress-free environment they might need.

Despite the obstacles this past year presented, the café is open and serving the public. While there are multiple Cornerstone Café locations, most students are familiar with the Hale Library location. They offer coffee, espresso and many other drinks and snacks.

Allan Ortiz, main operator and manager of the Cornerstone Café at Hale Library, said the café is a place students should feel welcome and safe. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has created challenges.

“The problem that I ran into last semester is that we had 10 students working here,” Ortiz said. “At some point I had to let them go and I stayed with only two. That was difficult, very difficult.”

The café initially opened in September, but closed for some time before re-opening in January. Ortiz said students are back inside working and they, “… want to work here, they depend on this job.”

While business is operating smoothly, there is still a lack of customers. Ortiz said the café’s mission is “serving good, quality products that are affordable to students.”

Abby Huddleston, senior in dietetics and frequent visitor at the Hale café, enjoys the relaxing hospitality it provides.

“I like that I can plug in my laptop and just study here,” Huddleston said. “The barista’s are always really nice and so helpful. I even ordered a drink today that they don’t usually make, but they were able to help me out.”

Huddleston understands the challenges created by the pandemic, but she said the café is doing all they can to keep customers and staff safe.

“I like that it is a safe place even with COVID and that all the tables are spread out,” Huddleston said.

Skylar Lindquist, senior in English and another frequent customer, has visited the other Cornerstone Café locations and has always appreciated the setting it provides.

“Cornerstone is where I got to know my current roommate, and the two of us got through biochemistry by meeting there every week to study,” Lindquist said.

The flow of customers has yet to pick up since the Hale Library location opened. Lindquist hopes to see that change very soon.

“I hope we start to see greater student traffic both at Hale and Cornerstone as the pandemic alleviates,” Lindquist said. “Whether Hale’s Cornerstone has a line of one or 31, diligent supervisor Alan and his amiable student workers will be serving delicious coffee, and I will be first in line.”

The Hale location is open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m, Monday through Friday and is closed on weekends. Another Cornerstone Café location is inside of Wefald Hall.

The Wefald location is open every day of the week, unlike the Hale location. The hours are 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday.

Emily Halstead, junior in agricultural communications and journalism and a manager of the café inside Wefald Hall, said she enjoys working at the café.

“As a manager at Cornerstone, I strive to make sure our customers are being served excellent products and have comfortable space to study or hang out with friends,” Halstead said. “As well as maintaining a fun and welcoming environment for our student employees to work in.”

Students can sit where they want as long as they wear a mask, don’t move tables and only have a maximum of four people sitting together, whether they are ordering or just hanging out.