New shake cafe opens in renovated Recreation and Wellness Center

Zack Hochberg and Cat Murphy

Quinnipiac University celebrated the launch of a shake cafe on the Mount Carmel campus on Jan. 28, amid the grand opening of the recently constructed Recreation and Wellness Center.

Founded in 2011, Shake Smart has expanded to more than three dozen college campuses nationwide, according to the company’s website.

The menu features a variety of protein shakes made from a protein powder and milk base. The station offers chocolate, vanilla and cookies and cream flavored whey protein powder as well as a plant-based protein powder substitute. The cafe also offers several milk base options, including low-fat, nonfat, oat and almond milk.

The cafe also serves coffee and tea, oatmeal, nut butter sandwiches and several blended and non-blended acai bowls. Many of the menu items, including several smoothie options, are customizable and made-to-order.

However, large crowds in the store’s opening days have prevented some students from being able to try the choices.

Although sophomore occupational therapy major Amanda Salomon said she has not had the opportunity to try Shake Smart due to long lines, she said the menu appeared enticing at first glance.

“It has a variety of healthy options and is located super conveniently by opening up inside the new gym,” Salomon said. “I love that it’s not just smoothies, but also oatmeals and protein bowls.”

Recreation and Wellness Center
The new Recreation and Wellness Center had its grand opening Jan. 27. (Peyton McKenzie)

Although several students expressed frustrations with the lengthy wait times, others said the long lines seem to move relatively quickly.

“They’ve been long, but it seems to go pretty quickly, considering how many people are waiting,” said first-year nursing major Emily Whitters.

Some students criticized the order process, which requires customers to place a mobile order on the Shake Smart website or submit their orders on storefront self-service tablets before paying at the register.

“I didn’t know I had to wait in the line,” said Lara Matrone, a sophomore psychology major. “The setup of it was just very confusing.”

However, Matrone also said she appreciated the convenience of the new shake station.

“I used to make protein shakes in my dorm,” Matrone said. “So now, coming to the gym, then right after coming to get a shake is really useful.”

Other students said they enjoyed the cafe’s environment.

“I like the aesthetic in here,” said Gabrielle Grillo, a sophomore psychology major. “It’s a good place to sit and do your work.”

Whitters added that the new station had the climate of a coffee shop.

“I love coming here after working out,” Whitters said. “It’s almost like a Starbucks kind of vibe.”

Anthony Rossi, a junior finance major, said he welcomed the addition of “something new and something unique to the campus.”

“If you can get more people out of the library and out of the cafe and somewhere else, I think it’s a good use of space,” Rossi said.

The Recreation and Wellness Center was the first major completion of the master facilities plan announced in January 2021.

As a part of the renovated Recreation and Wellness Center’s grand opening, the university also hosted an opening celebration on Jan. 26, entitled RecWell After Dark. The event featured free food, T-shirts and a variety of student-organized games and activities that utilized the new equipment and space, according to the university.