Coffea, popular UK campus gathering spot, to reopen

Coffea, the popular campus coffee shop in the Coliseum Plaza at Euclid and Rose, isn’t closing after all. Pom Bunchatheeravate, owner of the neighboring Thai restaurant Bangkok House, bought Coffea from founder David Lee and will keep it open in the same spot while the rest of shopping center is updated for a coming BurgerFi restaurant.

“I took it over because I hate to see that place let go,” Bunchatheeravate said Tuesday. “They’ve been here for 10 years and were always my neighbor. And I don’t want people to just give up on it.”

He said the coffee shop will stay the same for now, except that half of the space will become part of the new upscale burger place. It will essentially return to the same space it occupied when it first opened as Coffea Island in 2007.

Coffea manager Will Hurst said it will reopen at 7 a.m. Wednesday after being closed for about a week and a half. Hours will be 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. during the week, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

When the coffee shop announced on Facebook that it would close, University of Kentucky students and faculty reacted with distress.

Lee Greer, who bought the shopping center last year with his father, Phil, said earlier this month thatthey would like to keep Coffea, if possible. The Greers are beginning a major makeover on Coliseum Plaza, although longtime tenants Bangkok House and Coliseum Liquors are staying.

BurgerFi, which features gourmet all-natural burgers, fries, onion rings and shakes, is scheduled to open about Sept. 1.

Greer said in an email, “We are very excited to help the Coffea business reopen at the Coliseum Plaza. The Bangkok House has been a staple on UK campus for roughly 20 years, and it is great to see Pom expand into another venture.”