By Teresa Johnson
For The Diamondback
Vigilante Coffee celebrated its grand opening Monday, drawing students, residents and community leaders.
Situated on Route 1 between the University View apartment buildings, it opened a little over a week ago for a soft opening. This event, however, celebrated the shop's official opening and featured guest speakers and free coffee samples.
University of Maryland President Wallace Loh and Mayor Patrick Wojahn attended the celebration.
The establishment has "the best coffee in the state of Maryland," Loh said, adding he hopes to see another location open in the near future.
Wojahn said the city and its residents have been "eager to see this for a long time," adding coffee shops are critical in making a great college town.
Vigilante Coffee's first location is in Hyattsville, but the shop's founder and owner, Chris Vigilante, said he wanted to bring this to the university's community. The new Vigilante Coffee replaced #1 Liquors.
"I hope that it's a happy place for people to work and a happy place for people to enjoy coffee, and if those things happen, then usually the success part will take care of itself," Vigilante said.
Vigilante said unlike their Hyattsville location, the College Park shop is "built for speed and efficiency" instead of a place for people to gather.
The establishment has also brought in Bakeshop, a bakery in Arlington, Virginia, to supply the cafe with cookies and other sweet treats.
Jack Cowan, a senior computer science major, said he lives in The View and the coffee shop's location is convenient for him.
"If I wanted a coffee in the morning, I can go grab one," Cowan said.
Mira Baliga, a sophomore computer science major, also attended Monday's event and said she'd heard about Vigilante Coffee from pictures she's seen posted on Snapchat and Instagram of the shop's Hyattsville location.
"It was really cool and how this used to be an old liquor shop," Baliga said. "It's nice that it's coffee [instead], which is something that I can drink more than alcohol."
Baliga added she will be living in The View next year and said she is excited "to have something to just stop by on the way to class."
Brian Dunn, an alumnus of this university, said he believes this location is great for students to get coffee on the go, but it also serves as a great meeting place. As a small business owner, Dunn said its central location in College Park makes it a "perfect location to meet at."
"[When] alumni such as myself need people to come down to go to a show at MilkBoy or a game over at Xfinity, it's a great location," Dunn said. "It seems like it has a real central community already, you get that sense of a great place to be."
Vigilante also said he wanted to add more seating in the shop's patio area and a possible greenhouse at the front.