Grins to reopen after Passover following closure due to COVID-19

Grins shut its doors temporarily March 17 due to employees reporting symptoms of COVID-19. Current employee Ruby Liang announced it would reopen shortly via popular GroupMe “grins soupme”

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Grins, an on-campus vegetarian cafe, plans to reopen the week after Passover (Hustler Multimedia/Elle Choi)

Caroline Lingle, Staff Writer

Grins, an on-campus favorite dining spot and Nashville’s oldest vegetarian cafe, temporarily closed its doors March 17. This certified kosher restaurant offers plant-based options for breakfast, lunch and dinner included in the meal plan and available to order via the GET app. 

However, what many students expected to be a short closure has lasted over a week now, with no end in sight until a message in “grins soupme” March 23 announced that Grins would be reopening the week after Passover which spans from March 27 to April 4.

“Most people were cleared to go back to work on March 27”,” Liang said in a recent message to The Hustler.  “But, because Grins will be closing to respect Jewish holidays, we will not be open until the week after Passover.”

Needless to say, Grins’ hiatus has been a blow as it held the title of being many student’s go-to spot for meals. 

“Grins has definitely been the staple dining option for me this semester,” first-year Alexanne Odell said. “My best meals on campus so far have all been from Grins, especially their jackfruit tacos and vegan bruschetta flatbread. Its closure is a loss.”

Grins’ share of regulars even cultivated a student-body GroupMe dedicated to the restaurant—fittingly titled “grins soupme.” The group has over 450 members. 

With a fanbase like this, the announcement of Grins recent closure spread fast upon the release of the notice via the restaurant’s Instagram and Campus Dining March 17. 

“Hey friends! Grins is closed until further notice because of COVID. Sorry for the inconvenience,” employee Ruby Liang shared in the GroupMe the same day.

We asked Liang for further information regarding the cause of the closure.

“Grins was closed because there were workers who had symptoms of COVID-19 and as a precaution, Stephanie of Bongo Java made the executive decision to close Grins and ask the rest of the staff to quarantine as well,” Liang said in a recent message. 

Older Vanderbilt students also remember a restaurant-style Grins, with seating options and long lines at mealtimes. In light of the pandemic, Grins switched to having only an “order-ahead” takeout option which will remain status quo upon reopening. 

“Because of COVID, I don’t think Grins will see a return of the restaurant style that we used to know and love,” Liang said. “I’m sad about it too, as a graduating senior, but hopefully when everything returns to normal, so will Grins.”

Thankfully, Grins closure is not permanent, and items such as the APBG breakfast wrap and tasty pasta specials will soon be available once again. In the meantime, we’re rooting for you, vegetarians, vegans and Grins fans alike.