The coffee is flowing at Saint Leo University with the grand opening of Benedict's Coffeehouse on Monday, January 13. Benedict's is a We Proudly Serve Starbucks™ venue, featuring Starbucks coffees, specialty drinks and teas, and a variety of breakfast and lunch sandwiches, salads, and snacks.
A long line of students, faculty, staff, and community members waited patiently to get in the doors as the first 250 customers received a free Benedict's Coffeehouse travel mug with a purchase. The mug entitles the winners to unlimited coffee refills at a discount.
The coffeehouse name was selected to reflect Saint Leo University's Benedictine history and tradition. The university was founded in 1889 by sisters, monks, and priests of the Order of St. Benedict, and the university's core values are based on the Rule of St. Benedict.
"We looked at a number of names and considered 50 or 60," said University President Jeffrey Senese during the grand opening ceremony. "We ultimately selected Benedict's to honor the sisters, brothers, and monks who founded our great university."
The building at the east end of the Kirk Hall lawn (near the recreation basketball court) was renovated to create a comfortable space for the university's students, faculty, and staff, as well as guests from the surrounding community. There is inside seating and an outside patio area.
Senese noted that one of the Benedictine values is listening, and the new Benedict's Coffeehouse will provide a place for all who gather there to listen to and engage with each other.
Saint Leo students had long wanted a campus coffeehouse. The Student Government Union and students provided a little more than half the funding for the building. "This occasion represents promises kept," said SGU President Celine-Deon Palmer. "Benny's" as it already is being called, "represents community at its very core," Palmer said.
Benedict's will have several parking spots designated for guests from outside of the Saint Leo community so that those living and working nearby can come onto the campus and get a cup of coffee and a snack.
Monday's grand opening featured a blessing by Abbot Isaac Camacho, OSB; a ribbon-cutting ceremony; and music by the Cypress Creek Middle/High School Marching Band.
Benedict's Coffeehouse will be open daily, 7 a.m. to midnight, beginning Tuesday, January 14. The menu can be found at https://www.saintleo.edu/benedicts-coffeehouse.
Saint Leo University is at 33701 State Road 52, St. Leo, FL 33574. Benedict's is located to the right (east) of the traffic circle.