UM’s newest dining option Daybreak receives positive feedback after first week

Daybreak Cafe, UM’s newest on-campus dining option, opened last week to a tide of excited students. The all-day breakfast bistro located in Lakeside Village features a variety of waffle-themed items—from macaroni and cheese to quesadilla options.

After opening to long lines of customers on March 22, the restaurant saw demand continue throughout the week. Some students, including freshman Bennett Resnick, waited more than an hour for their food on opening day.

“The line today was very long, but I’ll blame it on the fact that it’s the first day and everyone wants to get a waffle,” said Resnick, who ordered a quesadilla waffle.

After ordering, students wait at the counter to pick up their waffles. During the lunchtime rush, some students waited a half hour or more between ordering and receiving their food.
After ordering, students wait at the counter to pick up their waffles. During the lunchtime rush, some students waited a half hour or more between ordering and receiving their food. Photo credit: Isabella Cascio

“The line was painstakingly long,” said freshman Amani Mmari. “But the workers did their best to assure customers their food was on its way and increase morale.”

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, social-distancing markers were placed on the ground and all food was take-out only. Workers kept students 6 feet apart while in line and enforced capacity limits— but once students ordered, they were packed shoulder to shoulder along the counter while they waited for their food to be prepared.

“The staff did their best to enforce COVID guidelines, but unfortunately, it was still crowded,” said Mmari.

Elizabeth Berado, Daybreak Café manager, said the most popular menu item so far has been the chicken and waffles on a stick.

“It’s a very different kind of chicken and waffles,” Berado said. The unique dish is a twist on the old classic, with fried chicken cooked into the waffle rather than being on the side.

The chicken and waffles on a stick is one of the options on the opening menu. The meal is a creative variation of the classic southern dish, with chicken cooked into the waffle.
The chicken and waffles on a stick is one of the options on the opening menu. The meal is a creative variation of the classic southern dish, with chicken cooked into the waffle. Photo credit: Isabella Cascio

Berado also said the long wait times were the only hiccup the cafe experienced last week.

“It was very busy, and all the students were super excited,” she said. “In the end, every student got a hot waffle, and they seemed very satisfied.”

Freshman Lewis Walker, who ordered the chicken and waffles, said his meal was worth the wait.

“I’m looking forward to coming here often now that it’s open,” he said.

“It’s pretty good,” said broadcast journalism major Savannah Yates after taking her first bite of the mango avocado toast. “Definitely a good option to have for campus dining.”

Daybreak was inspired by popular Tasty videos and designed to offer new dining options in a fun and creative way. All menu items are under $8 and can be paid for using the dining dollars provided in the university’s meal plans.

“I appreciated how low the prices were,” said Mmari, who purchased a quesadilla waffle for $7.49. “But I think the addition of meal swipe options would really take this place to the next level.”

Daybreak Cafe is part of the university’s plan to expand dining options on campus.

“I’m happy to see new places opening on campus,” Resnick said. “It’s been hard to find good food since a lot of places closed for COVID.”

Daybreak is open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays and closed on weekends.

Isabelle Eisenberg also contributed to this report.