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Hazel Origin Coffee to open Chen Family Hall location after spring break

New cafe to offer traditional coffee beverages, grab-and-go food, indoor, outdoor seating arrangements

The shop was originally slated to open by mid-November, but contracting and inspection difficulties caused significant delays.
The shop was originally slated to open by mid-November, but contracting and inspection difficulties caused significant delays.

Next month, one of the newest dorms on campus will see a new, caffeine-centric addition: Hazel Origin Coffee. 

The family-owned coffee company is set to open its Brook Street location in the second week of April, co-owner Dulce Lopez told The Herald. The new cafe, which will be their second location, will be located on Chen Family Hall’s ground floor. 

The University first announced Hazel’s College Hill arrival in an Aug. 9 press release, The Herald previously reported. Owned by Lopez and her husband, Hazel Origin Coffee offers traditional coffee beverages — with beans sourced from various Central and Latin American growers — alongside grab-and-go food selections. The added space will also feature a variety of indoor and outdoor seating arrangements.

The Lopezes immigrated to the United States in 2022 after several years of experience in the coffee industry. The pair opened Hazel’s first location in Pawtucket last October. 


In September, Lopez shared that they expected the University’s branch of the store to be open by mid-November. However, contracting and inspection difficulties caused significant delays.

Sourcing an affordable contractor to conduct renovations in the space posed a significant obstacle to opening, as bids and proposals were “three to four times higher” than anticipated, according to Lopez. 

Lopez also added that the selected contractor runs their own family-owned business and, due to personal reasons, had to delay the renovation for several weeks. 

As construction of the cafe nears completion, Hazel’s owners now enter the final step of assembling and decorating the space.  

“The espresso machine, everything that is going there — we already have it here in our Pawtucket location,” she said “We are just waiting for them to finish the project, and then we can start assembling everything in there.”

Before then, the new location must pass its last inspection by the City of Providence this Wednesday. “Once they approve everything, we can finish the project, the final details and everything else,” she said.

These next few weeks mark the end of a 16-month-long journey for the Lopezes. The couple first entered conversations with Brown in December 2022, when the Brook Street Residence Halls were still under construction, they shared. 

“​​Once we toured the retail space that Brown was building, I knew we had to have it,” Lopez said in the August press release. From there, the couple presented their proposal to University administrators.

“As early as the first conversation, it was clear to us that (the Lopezes have) a deep dedication to the craftsmanship of coffee,” said John Luipold, Brown’s vice president of business affairs, auxiliary services and real estate in the press release. “The wholehearted approach they take to everything about their business will create an exceptional coffee experience for College Hill students and residents.”

According to Lynda Curtis, the University’s media relations manager, Hazel signed a lease agreement in the summer of 2023. “Management of the physical space was turned over to the company in July,” she added in an email to The Herald. “We’re excited to see the results soon.”


Talia Reiss ’27 is also excited about the new shop, pointing to its indoor and outdoor spaces. “I am someone who needs to switch up my study spaces frequently, particularly if I’m doing creative work — and I often am,” she wrote in a message to The Herald. “I’m excited at the possibility of new cozy environments to add to my rotation.”

Hazel also provides new opportunities for student employment. Interested students wishing to work for the shop can do so in the coming weeks through part-time employment opportunities, according to Lopez. 

“The whole team at Hazel is very excited to open the shop,” Lopez added. “We can’t wait.”

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Tom Li

Tom Li is a Metro Editor covering the Health & Environment and Development & Infrastructure beats. He is from Pleasanton, California, and is concentrating in Economics and International & Public Affairs. He is an avid RIPTA passenger and enjoys taking (and criticizing) personality tests in his free time.

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