Emerbee’s, a new dining facility, is set to open on campus tentatively the week of June 3, however, the opening date is not yet confirmed.
In an interview with the Highlander, Benjamin Eisenstein, the marketing and strategic communications manager for UCR Housing, Dining & Hospitality Services, stated that due to the rapid growth of UCR’s campus, new dining facilities are needed to keep up with the increased population.
Eisenstein stated that the name of the dining facility was inspired by their close vicinity to the Multidisciplinary Research Building (MRB). Emerbee’s, stated Eisenstein, is a play on words of MRB. According to Eisenstein, UCR Housing, Dining & Hospitality Services wanted to create a partnership with UCR’s Department of Entomology which is also what inspired the name and theme of Emerbee’s. Within the department of entomology, there is the Center for Integrative Bee Research (CIBER). Eisenstein stated, “We knew we wanted to use their honey in our menu items. We wanted to help them save the bees and we wanted to integrate the word bees into our name.”
A portion of each sale at Emerbee’s benefits CIBER. “A healthy bee population strengthens our shared ecosystem, so we are happy to do our part to save the bees,” stated Eisenstein. Their official story states, “By enjoying Emerbee’s and, in turn, supporting the study of bees, you strengthen our shared ecosystem. Thank you for helping to preserve our world, one bee at a time,”
The entomology department will have a dedicated display case which Eisenstein stated will allow the department to “tell whatever story they want. They can advertise anything bee related, any save the bees events or just advertise the research that they do.”
Emerbee’s will be a panini-focused concept that will serve meals for breakfast and lunch and will open at 7:30 a.m. most days and remain open until 9:00 p.m. In an interview with the Highlander, Julie Zeno, the manager of Emerbee’s, stated that the dining residence halls on campus close at 8:30 p.m. so they are hoping their closing time of 9:00 p.m. will prompt students to visit. Zeno stated, “We’re hoping that students know that we are open late and that they can visit us after they work out or after their late night classes.” They will serve Starbucks and the menu will be rounded out by signature Emer-Treats and signature drinks.
The staff for Emerbee’s is currently being trained and will learn how to prepare the menu items that Emerbee’s will sell. The menu, which is subject to change, will include items infused with honey that is produced through the department of entomology. They will sell a variety of paninis including Cuban, vegan with jackfruit, roasted turkey and smoked gouda. The menu will also feature harvest egg and cheese wraps and more.
Dessert menu items will include Emer-Tart desserts which come in flavors such as cherry, blueberry, chocolate banana and brown sugar cinnamon. Additional menu items will include a Singapore noodle salad, a black bean salad with cilantro lime vinaigrette and roasted butternut squash, a steak melt with roasted tomatoes and sweet onion and add-ons such as tofu, shrimp and chicken.
Breakfast items will include: stuffed french toast, a monte cristo panini, avocado and peanut butter and jelly toast and an egg and chorizo panini. They will also serve drinks such as: espresso, iced coffees, coffees, teas, smoothies, frappuccinos and others.
Emerbee’s will have room for studying and lounging, with 1,000 square feet of umbrella-covered tables and chairs. It will seat about 20 students at five tables with umbrellas. Eisenstein stated, “We’re excited to discover the atmosphere after we open … there is plenty of room for the campus community to study and socialize.” Emerbee’s will accept dining dollars, bear bucks and dining gift cards. The 600-square-foot kitchen and servery features an ordering window and a pickup window. Digital menu boards will sit above the pickup windows. During the day and night, a light will shine a bee logo near the ordering window.
Eisenstein stated that their neighbors at MRB will be staff of a new life sciences incubator and their neighbors at MSE will include students in large lecture halls. “We’re hoping both these communities will congregate at Emerbee’s and make it a truly special experience,” stated Eisenstein.
“This is the first entirely new dining concept that has opened on campus since 2014 with the Market at Glen Mor. We are matching the exciting growth that campus is seeing and we think the campus community is definitely ready for us. We will be ready for them,” stated Eisenstein.