After providing Georgetown students a welcome alternative to the limited menus of university dining halls for over 85 years, Sugar’s Campus Store will be closing its doors this May.
Sugar’s owner Chol Kim said that although he has not had problems operating the store, the owner of the lease, Nabeel Audeh, is unwilling to renew the contract.
Audeh, who is also the owner of Wisemiller’s Deli, declined to renew Kim’s lease.
Audeh could not be reached for comment.
“Sugar’s is just diminishing,” Kim said. “I never thought Sugar’s would just disappear like this. The store and [the university] exist together.”
Located two blocks from campus, the diner has grown dependent on the business of students, who compose about 70 percent of the store’s customers, Kim said.
“We’ve really enjoyed working with the students,” he said. “When students come in as freshmen we start to become acquainted. And sadly four years later we say bye. But they come back a year or two later. Some couples have even come back with their kids and said we met at this table and now we’re married.”
Founded in 1917 by the original Mr. Sugar, the long-standing area restaurant began as a drug store and only began serving food in 1962. When Kim gained ownership of the restaurant in 1992, he eliminated the sale of miscellaneous school supplies and concentrated solely on food sales.
Students who frequent the restaurant expressed dismay at the prospect of losing a part of Georgetown tradition.
“It’s upsetting,” Andrew Kane (COL ’07) said. “I love Sugar’s. That was my favorite place to go on Saturdays.”
“I go there almost every morning for my coffee because all the Corp places are so far away,” Katya Gunderson (MSB ’08) said. “It’ll be like the end of an era. The place is always full of kids for brunch on weekends.”
Gunderson said that she began going to Sugar’s partly out of respect for a family ritual.
“That place has been around forever,” she said. “My dad went to Georgetown and when I first moved to LXR he was telling me how I have to go there since that’s where he used to have breakfast.”
Having been here for little more than one semester, some freshmen have already experienced the comfortable atmosphere that Sugar’s offers its patrons.
“I’ve been there like three times,” Alfredo Fletes (SFS ’09) said. “It feels like a local restaurant. It feels like home.”
Not all students are regulars at the diner, however, and some said that the closing of the store was not surprising.
“I always thought that the food wasn’t that great and that it was overpriced,” Sean Sullivan (SFS ’07) said.
Elizabeth Bowers (MSB ’08) said she thinks the restaurant was more popular in years past but has experienced a recent decline in quality and reputation.
“When my aunts and uncles went to Georgetown, Sugar’s was the big hangout – everyone went to Sugar’s,” Bowers said. She said, however, that she has never gone in her time on the Hilltop.
Kim said that the store has enjoyed a close relationship with the university and that he kept the restaurant’s original name to reflect the preservation of memories and tradition.
“Most of the people who graduated from Georgetown, they know Sugar’s,” he said. “When alumni come back they’re pleased to see the store is still here under the same name.”
– HOYA Staff Writer Meredith Cooke contributed to this report