Cafe at Former Dinky Station Building Slated to Open This Summer

The first of two eateries slated for the former Dinky train station buildings on University Place is scheduled to open this summer, a Princeton University official said Monday night.

Agricola owner Jim Nawn’s Fenwick Hospitality Group is partnering with the school to operate a restaurant and cafe in the former Dinky station buildings on University Place in downtown Princeton.

The cafe will open in July, said Kristin Appelget, the school’s director of community and regional affairs. The restaurant will open in 2017, hopefully before reunions, Appelget told the Princeton Council. The academic buildings in the school’s arts and transit neighborhood are slated to open in the fall of 2017, she said.

The transit elements of the Arts and Transit Project were completed in 2014 and include the new, train station, Wawa convenience store, and commuter-parking. The project also includes three buildings, now under construction, that will provide rehearsal and performance spaces for the Lewis Center for the Arts and the school’s department of music.


  1. Wow. Things move fast around here. Lose a station tailored to the needs of the local community – other than PU, that is – and gain another coffee shop. Phew! That’s progress! Can’t wait for another gourmet experience next year.

    Can anyone give me a ride to the new PU approved, for your convenience, station

    Princeton. You lucky people.

    1. Am I missing something? The new Princeton Train Station is less than a half a mile from the old one. And the old one had been closed for almost two decades.

        1. Thanks. I don’t recall that the old station building, now slated to be a restaurant, was open. I thought you had to by tickets at those machines next to the platform.

          But the new one is still pretty darn close to the old one. The criticism, above, is bizarre.

          1. Under an agreement with NJ Transit when the school purchased the property in 1984, the school agreed to maintain the station waiting room and have it open certain hours. The school renovated it and opened it to riders again in 2012 or 2013.

          2. Good to know that, since you don’t ride the train, the new station location suits you just fine. Thanks for sharing.

            1. So the University has to keep the station in the same place for you? Moving it a mere short walk away is worthy of a hissy fit?

              1. I must have missed the hissy fit, but it’s a train station, not a dumpster. Train stations are considered infrastructure. They don’t usually move, and when they do, they don’t move further away from their walkable ridership. So yes, the University was expected to keep it in the same place for everyone. That would be good stewardship for the community. By your logic, they could just keep leapfrogging it further down the line until it gets all the way to Princeton Junction. More expansion for the University; less convenience for Princeton residents. Par for the course.

                  1. I think that sums up PU’s argument for moving the train station. It was pretty much “get lost” to the community. Sad.

                1. Your hypothetical is a little like Zeno’s paradox — in reverse. But like it, it is theoretical. Motion is possible. And, so long as a train station moves only a few hundred yards, it’s no big deal; i.e., not hissy fit worthy.

      1. The old station was open as late as 2014, since I’d use it semi-frequently to get to NYC.

    2. We also gained some highly visible parking lots that make Alexander look like the gateway to a state college’s stadium and an unobstructed view of two stainless steel smokestacks that are particularly intriguing (as in “Wow! I didn’t now we had an industrial park.”) when they belch clouds of smoke in the cold winter air. In addition, now that the Basin St lot has been cleared and replanted with tiny twig trees, everyone driving into Princeton on Alexander has a clear view of the hulking façade of the University’s Lawrence Apartments or they can take a side trip onto Faculty Road to see how ugly materials such as roofing shingles can be used to embellish the façade of graduate student housing. I hope the University has added these vistas to their campus tour. I’d hate to think that Princeton residents were the only people enjoying these eyesores.

  2. It’s going to be called ‘The Dinky Bar and Kitchen’. A webpage has been up for months, where you can sign up for info. I’m personally really looking forward to it.

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