For one day only, beloved campus eatery Rebecca’s Cafe returns


Kelly Thomas

On Sunday, March 28, students were reunited with Rebecca’s Cafe and got one more chance to enjoy their favorites.

Kelly Garrity, news staff

When Northeastern announced last summer that Rebecca’s Cafe, one of the university’s most cherished campus eateries, would be closing its doors for good, students, like second-year business administration major Sage Ratcliff, were distraught.

“I was devastated when they were gone,” said Ratcliff, who visited the sandwich shop in the basement of Churchill Hall at least three times a week before the pandemic cut her freshman year short. “I loved [Rebecca’s] for such a short time, but such a dear amount of time.”

For one day only, Ratcliff had a chance to rekindle that love.

To kick off Springfest, the annual weeklong celebration organized by Northeastern’s Council for University Programs, or CUP, “The Return of Rebecca’s” offered Northeastern students a chance at one last bite of some of their favorite Rebecca’s sandwiches Sunday, March 28.

Students registered online for one of five sandwiches — the Nicole, the caprese, the California turkey wrap, the steakhouse roast beef or the hummus and veggie — and then were given a time slot to pick up their sandwich at one of three tents on campus. The registration was first come first served with 100 of each kind available for free for 500 lucky students.

Charmy Patel, a fourth-year health science major and special events chair for CUP, was one of driving forces behind the event.

“Last year when we found out Rebecca’s was closing, we were all devastated cause it was such a staple to the Northeastern community, just going out to Rebecca’s at the 11:30 lunch rush,” she said.

The hope with Sunday’s event, she said, was to give those students an opportunity to experience part of what they loved about the eatery — the food.

“The food was the best, honestly. That’s where I ate pretty much all the time,” said fifth-year business administration major Christina Tarr, who was picking up a California turkey wrap. “I do not miss the dining halls, but I miss Rebecca’s.”

Tarr’s go-to order at Rebecca’s was the Niall, a sandwich that featured mozzarella, caramelized onions, tomato, smoked turkey and bacon on a ciabatta roll. To Tarr’s slight disappointment, the sandwich wasn’t an option at Sunday’s event.

However, Patel managed to get another fan favorite, the Nicole, on the list, despite the fact it was not on Rebecca’s catering menu. A perceptive choice on her part — the Nicole sold out the quickest, only 27 minutes after the registration link went up. After two hours, every sandwich had been claimed.

Although the food was what compelled many people to attend the event, students noted that there was so much more that they missed about the cafe.

“What I miss about Rebecca’s is sitting out between classes and just being able to interact with my friends and seeing people randomly that you didn’t really expect to see that day,” said Patel, who varied her order between the Niall and the Nicole when visiting Rebecca’s.

Ratcliff held a similar opinion: “It was such an integral part of being a student on campus,” she said. “I honestly miss the atmosphere of waiting in that long line, but then getting your warm sandwich in your hands, and it’s so perfect, and it’s so worth it, especially with the chipotle mayo.”

The lengthy lines that typically poured out the door and around the corner were nowhere to be seen on Sunday. Second-year international business major Nick Portello recalled a time when he waited at least 40 minutes in line to get his favorite, the buffalo chicken wrap. Today, he said he would be willing to wait even longer.

“I would wait two hours just for the nostalgia factor,” he said.

After waiting close to a year for another taste of Rebecca’s, a couple of hours is nothing.