Late ‘Gate Opens, Offering Late Night Food Options

Lucie Levasseur, Contributing Writer

Through Colgate’s Thought Into Action (TIA) program, sophomores Ryan Rosenblatt and Zephan Kraus launched their business, Late ‘Gate, on Friday, Feb. 11.

After eight months of working with mentors, attending workshops with alumni and doing extensive research on what this level of entrepreneurship entails, Late ’Gate had its pilot opening event at the TIA Incubator space at 20 Utica St. Though the end goal is a food truck, the pair decided a “soft opening” would be the perfect way to go public.

“Our business plan was to always have late ‘gate be a fun spot where students who had different plans at night could convene around good food and hang out. Therefore we wanted to make the space as lively and inviting as possible with lights and good music,” Rosenblatt and Kraus said.

Rosenblatt thought about starting a food truck service before coming to Colgate, and when he and Kraus realized their shared passion for business and serving their community, they thought a late-night dining service would be the perfect venture.

“Our group of friends freshman year would often commiserate about the lack of late-night dining options on campus as we put our cup of noodles in the microwave,” Rosenblatt and Kraus said.

The two recount on older generations who had more extended food options, which they referred to as “the unforgettable times at 3 am in Slices with his buddies and the legendary times had at 24/7 Frank.” Downtown Hamilton’s New York Pizzeria known as “Slices,” open until 2 a.m. on weekends pre-pandemic, now closes at midnight, as does Frank Dining Hall, which neglected its 24/7 operating hours. The TIA venture sought to fill the void left by these changes. 

“There has to be a food option for Colgate students from 1 a.m. to 3 a.m. and we want students to look no further than Late ’Gate for this,” Rosenblatt and Kraus said. 

Sophomore Sarah Cohn described the environment during the soft opening of Late ‘Gate, claiming there was a large turnout.

“The entrance was packed with people pushing to the front to get the last couple bags of food from Late ‘Gate,” Cohn said. “The fries were so tasty.”

Rosenblatt and Kraus said that, “Friday’s pilot opening was definitely a success,” as it allowed them to gain insight into what students liked and did not like.

“They should serve a more diversified menu, make sure the food stays hot and is served quickly, open later around 1 a.m., and mark down the price,” Kraus and Rosenblatt said, recounting advice from those who attended. The set pricing of $10 was advised to them by their TIA mentors, and they have decided to decrease prices to $8 or $9 for future events. Additionally, Rosenblatt and Kraus plan on accepting Gate Cash to “make it easier for all students to enjoy” Late ‘Gate. 

In the future, Late ’Gate plans on offering a more extensive and varied menu that accommodates food allergies and restrictions in the future, and they want to hear back from students to cater to customer recommendations. 

The food for the event was outsourced from Sysco and prepared in an on-site fryer. Rosenblatt’s “extensive culinary background” served as a useful tool for the team, as he brought knowledge on how to function professionally in a dining environment and how to ensure that the proper safety and sanitation precautions are taken. The pair enrolled in multiple courses on food safety and are ServSafe certified, and have been in contact with the Madison County Department of Health and the Village of Hamilton. They also gained a temporary food service permit for Friday’s event to operate within the regulations of the Village.

The duo also hopes to expand their team so that Late ’Gate is “spearheaded by students” and a place of gathering and socializing for the community. Currently, Late ’Gate is run by its co-founders Rosenblatt and Kraus, along with Jessica Solodar ’24, the Chief Operations Officer, and Hayden Gilbert ’24, Chief Marketing Officer.

“The team hopes to bring on individuals interested in investing in a hardworking team dedicated to revolutionizing Colgate’s late night dining scene,” Rosenblatt and Kraus said.

They plan on doing so in order to accumulate the sufficient support from investors they need in order to obtain a food truck. They currently plan on having several additional openings in the TIA Incubator space and up the hill. While they feel the TIA location is “a great spot down the hill that is centrally located for students of all grades,” they see the value in comparing it to an event up the hill. 

Once they generate enough funding and support, Rosenblatt and Kraus claim they wish to implement a mobile ordering option to make it easier for students to order and acquire their food. They do, however, enjoy the lively communal aspect of waiting in line, and plan on building on this social sphere by adding tables, lights, and music. 

“The end goal of Late ‘Gate is to be a legacy on Colgate’s campus so that when students come back after graduation they know that the Late ‘Gate truck is still there serving great food to generations of Colgate students,” Rosenblatt and Kraus said.

To foster this legacy, Rosenblatt and Kraus are distinguishing their business by staying open past comparable services such as Slices or Good Uncle. 

In the future, they are considering catering to other high traffic gatherings such as sporting events. They are also considering a possible expansion to other schools once they are well established on Colgate’s campus. For now, though, Colgate is their “number one priority” and they are dedicated to creating a space where students are “hanging with friends eating tasty food in a fun community-based environment.”

“Late ’Gate is the chance to add something special and novel to the campus,” Rosenblatt and Kraus said.