As more than 29,000 students return to Carolina’s campus, we welcome them back with our August Artifacts of the Month, a menu board and stool from the Daily Grind Café. The Daily Grind served coffee in a small, lively space adjacent to UNC’s Student Stores for more than twenty-two years. When news broke at the end of last school year that the Café would close in the summer of 2016, students, faculty, and staff mourned the loss of a campus institution.
These items serve as a reminder of just how fun and innovative The Daily Grind was. For over two decades, the cafe provided students with freshly brewed, locally roasted coffee in a multitude of ways — like their Crème Brulee and Snickerdoodle “Magical Mochas,” as seen on this menu board.
One-of-a-kind painted stools like this one offered the perfect perch for employees of the one-of-a-kind café, where students met up with friends, chatted with professors, or just took a break as they looked out into the Pit.
After Barnes and Noble assumed management of the Student Stores, the Daily Grind Café moved out of its location at the heart of campus. Yet students should have no fear! The Friends Café at the Health Sciences Library still serves the same “mean beans” as its sister café, with an extensive espresso drink list and fresh treats served every weekday.
The North Carolina Collection Gallery is honored to preserve these and other Daily Grind artifacts as a reminder of a beloved campus café. Getting coffee at the Daily Grind was more than a quick break — it was a UNC tradition.
For more Carolina traditions, both old and new, visit the exhibit Classic Carolina: Traditions Then and Now in the Gallery. The exhibit, dedicated to all of our new Tar Heels, shares Carolina food, athletic, and dorm traditions from the mid-twentieth century.