Espresso Royale Union location closes, new location to be opened in Grainger Engineering Library


The Espresso Royale located in the Illini Union Courtyard Cafe operated for the last time on Tuesday, May 26, 2015. A Starbucks will open in the same location. 

By Ben Lash

Tuesday marked the last day of business for the Espresso Royale located in the Illini Union Courtyard Café.

After operating there since the mid-1990s, the shop will be replaced by a Starbucks, which will open in the coming school year.

Some students said they are excited about the change and happy Starbucks will be opening in a more central location on the University campus.

“We’re not very sad about it,” said Dhruv Gelda, a frequent customer of Espresso Royale. “We’re also fans of Starbucks.”

Others said Espresso Royale is their coffee shop of choice and are sad to see the Courtyard Café location go.

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“There aren’t many Espresso Royale selections outside of campus, but I see Starbucks all the time,” said graduate student Jason Cho. “To be kind of dramatic, I feel like things are getting more commercialized.”

The upcoming location in the Illini Union Courtyard Café will be Starbucks’ third installment on campus. Starbucks currently has one location on Green Street and another in the Illini Union Bookstore.

Espresso Royale shops at the University outnumber on-campus Starbucks installments, and that number will not be dwindling following the Courtyard Café location’s closure. Plans are already in motion for the construction of a new Espresso Royale in Grainger Engineering Library.

“Our contract is up,” said Erin Gillis, manager of the Espresso Royale in the Union. “Instead of renewing the contract, we’re opening a new place based in Grainger. It’s going to be larger. … We have plans made and architects figuring things out.”

Espresso Royale currently has seven cafés across the University campus in locations such as the Undergraduate Library and the Business Instructional Facility.

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