Something’s Cooking: University of New Haven students run Hazell Nut Café

Published: Sep. 23, 2022 at 6:48 PM EDT
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WEST HAVEN, CT (WFSB) - A group of young people at the University of New Haven are using an unconventional classroom to learn about the hospitality industry and serve up delicious meals.

Everybody’s shouting about Hazell Nut Café, one of the hottest restaurants in New Haven County. The café features great food from all over the area like tasty treats from Julia’s Bakery in Orange and Perkatory Coffee.

The stars of the show are the staff members.

“Even with all these curve balls thrown at us like we deal with it but we still enjoy what we are doing at the end of the day,” said Sadie Fraser-Read.

Every employee is a student at the University of New Haven. These future hospitality industry super stars do everything, including designing and setting a budget.

“I’m really really really proud of these students they always amaze me,” said Jan Jones, Coordinator of UNH’s Hospitality and Tourism Management Program.

Jones popped by to see how her students were handling their soft opening, and the pressure was on right away!

Interim President Sheahon Zenger placed the first order, coffee and a chocolate croissant.

The Hazell Nut Café will eventually serve almost every UNH student and staffer. This team is up to the task, and they learn a new lesson with every order.

“I really learned to take initiative, take charge, take responsibilities,” said Sydney Robbins, UNH Student. “Which is something every student should be able to experience here at the university.”

“As long as you say it with grace and you have the right attitude and your respectful it all works out,” said Alex Vendola, UNH Student.

“Since you already worked through the tough times then everything else is I’ve been through this Before I can do it again,” said Doanh Thieu, UNH Student.

Zenger said there’s one slight problem. He’s worried the baked goods will wreck his diet, but he’s proud of the students who prove that this cafe classroom is a delicious teaching tool.

“It gives me great hope for the future, students can do anything,” said Zenger. “Just be careful what you give them to do because they can pull off just about anything you ask.”