Waterleaf restaurant to close

COD establishment will transition to student space


graphic by Lucas Koprowski

Kelly Wynne, News Editor

College of DuPage Board of Trustees voted to close Waterleaf restaurant at the Aug. 13 special board meeting. After a 5-1 vote, Waterleaf will officially close on Aug. 31 and begin its transition to a student learning space immediately.

The vote comes after months of uncovering administrative misuse and the restaurant. President Robert Breuder and colleagues were reported to have spent upwards of $350,000 of college funds at the on-campus restaurant since it’s opening in 2011.

The restaurant has also shown a steady decline in funding, landing itself in the red almost 2.2 million since 2011. Trustee Charles Bernstein presented a brief report at the Aug. 13 meeting, which included financial records indicating the restaurant has cost upwards of 3 million to run over the past 3 years.

Trustees have anticipated a vote on Waterleaf since discussion began in June. A variety of options were proposed, including transforming the space into additional classrooms, renting the space and keeping the current set-up to serve as a lab for students.

Dean Donna Stewart took time at the special meeting to briefly describe the final vision for the space. The transition will begin this semester, adding at least one class to the space. In the future, Stewart and members of the hospitality and culinary department plan to review the department’s curriculum. This will allow for the addition of more student opportunity in the Waterleaf kitchen. Additional classes will also be explored for possible educational expansion in Wheat Café.

Trustee Joseph Wozniak was the only trustee to vote against the decision. He explained his preference to keep the restaurant professionally run a few days a week. “I agree with the addition of student activity, but it’s not a good idea to actually close it,” said Wozniak.

Interim President Joseph Collins shared his ideas about allowing students to run the restaurant a few days a week, keeping the establishment open to the public. “Closing the restaurant still gives us more options,” said Collins. “There are more ways to use the space. The restaurant will still be open, just limited.” Collins and board members assured that the restaurant will remain active and will stay consistent with it’s current quality.

Waterleaf restaurant sent an email to past customers on Aug. 14 announcing the close. The message explained that reservations will be accepted through Aug. 29 and remaining gift certificates will be honored.