After the departure of Little Raven Creamery and its short-lived successor Little Raven Eatery in Campustown, a new restaurant has occupied the empty nest.
Blended 2.0 opened its doors Friday and owner Amanda DeMaria said cake shakes and baked goods will remain an essential part of the location, but she is putting her own spin on the menu that emphasizes customization.
“[If] you want a peanut butter and grilled honey sandwich, well that’s what you’re going to get,” DeMaria said. “It’s up to you to build it the way that you want it and everyone around here has a style and it’s not fair for me to say ‘Well, these are the five sandwiches we offer and this is what you’re going to eat.’ We have thousands of kids over there with very singular tastes, so how am I going to tell you how to eat your sandwich?”
The restaurant will also cater to dietary restrictions, offering options like vegan ice cream.
DeMaria said her goal is to create a place that celebrates and promotes the area’s diversity, and hopes to achieve this through hosting events including a monthly Get to Know Your Country, where different students and members of the community come in and teach to cook different dishes from around the world.
“These kids are homesick,” DeMaria said. “They’re from different countries and they come here and it’s a whole new world for them. You kind of ache to have something from back home but don’t want to make everything in your little dorm yourself, so why not share with us? And it gives us the ability to have a taste from where they’re from, literally.”
The now-barren walls of the restaurant will also carry different tastes by being decorated with local artists’ work. DeMaria said she wants them to showcase their work and talent, whether they want to sell or display it.
“We want to celebrate all types of art, not just drawing or writing but all different things, whatever speaks to your heart,” DeMaria said.
The opening of the new Campustown business attracted curious students.
“Once I was there, it kind of reminded me of Little Raven Creamery,” said Allison Plourde, a junior creative writing major. “Everyone was really nice and they were honest about still working out the kinks and trying new things. I had a really awesome milkshake and would definitely go back to try their food.”
DeMaria opened the first location of Blended in Willow Knolls Shopping Center in late May. Then she decided to expand the business to Campustown in August to be near Bradley, where her daughter Megan Wagner attends.
“It was definitely a surprise at first, but also excitement,” Wagner, a junior English major, said. “Campustown is more us in terms of what we want to represent and share with everybody.”
DeMaria hopes to create a safe and relaxing environment for students to hang out at. She also plans on temporarily extending hours for finals season.
“I always tell people I’m a mom away from home,” DeMaria said. “When you’re missing your mom you can come in here. We’ll have blankets in here in the winter, gourmet hot chocolate and just it’s a place to get away and relax.”
Blended 2.0 is currently open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. For updates on events or to contact the business, follow them on their Facebook Page.