New Campus Cafe Has Distinctive Flavor

The Kindlevan Cafe in the Science and Engineering Complex will feature flavorful, veg-centric food

photo of cafe space before opening

Fresh, convenient, ethically sourced, unusual—that describes the food you’ll find at Tufts’ newest eating establishment on the Medford/Somerville campus, according to Patti Klos, director of Dining and Business Services.

The Kindlevan Café will have a limited menu starting Aug. 29; full service will start on Sept. 5. The café, Klos said, takes cues from its home, the new four-story, glass-sheathed research wing of the Science and Engineering Complex.

The new eatery, located next to a sun-filled atrium, will offer a wide selection of breakfast sandwiches, panini and sushi, seasonal salads and soups, grab-and-go snacks and desserts, as well as coffee, tea, and fresh-pressed juices and smoothies.   

Tufts Dining Service focuses on “flavorful, veg-centic food” that is, as much as possible, ethically sourced, she said, with vendors such as Sun Coffee Roasters, a Connecticut-based organic fair trade coffee company.

With the goal of providing food free of additives, healthy energy boosters like fresh squeezed carrot juice or a smoothie that blends kale, green apple, cucumber, lemon and ginger will be on the menu.

Among other offerings will be tempeh mole and spicy sweet potato salad at the hot food bar; purple asparagus and quinoa salad with peas; arugula salad with strawberries, walnuts and goat cheese; an apricot chipotle chicken sandwich; and grilled cheese and chorizo panini.

What’s in a Name

Patrons of the café may wonder at the name, and therein lies a love story. Husband and wife Jeff Kindler, A77, A11P, a former trustee, and Sharon Sullivan, J78, A11, met in Copenhagen on a semester abroad program, were married in 1980, and saw their daughter graduate from Tufts in 2011. 

Sullivan recalled that the marriage of their last names into Kindlevan first came up when they were planning their wedding. “We were trying to combine our names so both of us would use it,” says Sullivan. In the end they decided to keep their own last names, but Kindlevan seemed to have a well-tailored charm. It wasn’t surprising when they’d received cards and letters addressed to “The Kindlevan Family.”

Recently, when the couple had the chance to make a gift in support of a new space, they were thoughtful. “Jeff was a ‘down the hill’ guy and I was an ‘up the hill’ gal,” said Sullivan. “We hung out at Tufts mostly in the dining halls. So when we were offered the chance to name the cafe, we said, ‘That’s perfect!’”

What does it mean, now that Kindlevan is displayed in large, permanent letters for everyone to see? “It almost feels like we’re sending another kid to Tufts,” said Kindler. “Our hope is that the Kindlevan Café will provide a fun and pleasant environment in which students and faculty can meet, work, chat and enjoy each other—gaining from their engaged participation in the unique, diverse and world-class Tufts community.”

Green in Many Ways

All in all, Klos said, Tufts Dining is aligning its Kindlevan Café menu with the modernity of a new building. “We had the good fortune to land in the heart of this new complex and the evolving Science and Technology Corridor,” she said. “We know people are more calorie-conscious, and more likely to think about overall balance in their diets. We’ve been creative—and intentional—about what we offer.”

The café should get high marks for sustainability, too. The complex itself meets high standards for energy-efficiency, and Dining Services will be using energy-saving appliances and to incorporate green practices like composting.  

The new café fills a practical need. Brown and Brew in neighboring Curtis Hall closed on Aug. 11 after 20 years as a popular coffee shop. For the foreseeable future, that space  will remain open to students as a multipurpose room for meetings and small gatherings.  

Plans call for seating on the patio, about 64 seats in the atrium, and 10 to 12 seats at the café counter.

Starting Sept. 5, the café will be open Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Laura Ferguson can be reached at

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