Campus Dining Services Undergo Major Changes

Campus dining services have implemented a number of changes this semester in response to student need for more food options and greater convenience.

Executive Director of Campus Auxiliary Services (CAS) Steve Deutsch said the changes include a physical remodel of Hasbrouck Dining Hall with new food programs and the transition of late night operation from the Hawk Street Station to the Student Union (SU).

Future changes include the installation of a Shop24 automated convenience store and moving the campus bakery to the former Hawk Street Station space.

Deutsch said there were many culinary changes made to the various Hasbrouck stations.

Bella Trattoria is a Mediterranean station serving pizza, pasta and stromboli, Flying Star Diner includes grill items along with breakfast all day and Magellan’s specializes in international cusine.

The 360 Grill is an action station and Basic Kneads is a self-serve deli. Another prominent change is Wild Mushroom, a station offering made-to-order salads with vegetarian and vegan options.

“All of these things are Sodexo programs, before they just sort of freelanced it,” Deutsch said.

Josephine Dzielski, a fourth-year double major in visual arts and French, said she was impressed with many of the changes in Hasbrouck.

“I fully approve of the new selection of fruit all day, the salad and sandwich area. I also think it’s cool they are trying to make the place look like a diner and small sections where you can choose according to the type of food,” Dzielski said. “The vegan section has grown and has more choices than just brown rice and broccoli.”

Deutsch said the extension of food services hours in the SU resulted from a “combination” of things, including a suggestion from Sodexo District Manager Ralph Perez-Rogers to move late night service to the center of campus and student desires to eat later and healthier.

A new tossed salad operation opened to replace Freshen’s smoothies, and most operations are now open much later. Pandini’s and Tokyo Sushi are open until 10 p.m., Mojavista and Nester’s Grill are open until 10:30 p.m., Nester’s Pasta is open until 11 p.m.  and SubConnection is open until midnight, although Friday and weekend hours differ.

Deutsch said these hours will probably shift as the semester progresses and will constantly be updated on the CAS website.

Most of what was sold at the Hawk Street Station is available at the pasta or grill areas, except for convenience items.

Up to 200 of the most popular convenience items will be found in the Shop24 machine on the SU concourse on the west side of the building, but the machine is not projected to be on campus until mid-October. Until then, a temporary convenience store, slated to open on Sept. 6, will stand in its place, Deutsch said.

“I think ultimately Shop24 will be superior because we can carry more products in it and it’s 24 hours a day,” Deutsch said.

During a student senate meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 4, Student Association President Josh Simpson brought up the issue of Shop24 not accepting Dining Dollars and said he is working with CAS to remedy this.

Third-year communication disorders major Rachel Jones said she had an issue with clarity in regards to the dismantling of Hawk Street and the issue of convenience products.

“I just think that the school really lacked in the communication department. Personally, it just seemed like the SUB hours of operation expanded, but Oscars completely disappeared,” Jones said. “This surprised me, considering that it is one of the most popular dining facilities on campus, with a variety of convenience items that many people rely on.”

Jones said she knew many other students who were unaware of what was going on as well.

Once Shop24 arrives, the pop-up convenience store will be removed and they will begin paving the way to move the campus bakery to that spot, Deutsch said. The bakery, which provides all the baked goods on campus, is located in the service building, which will be undergoing changes.

Deutsch said they have been asked to relocate the bakery for a long time, as the building, which also houses the University Police Department, Facilities, Planning and Construction and other support services, is not really the appropriate place.

“We realized if we moved that stuff over to the SUB, we’d have the opportunity to move the bakery here and that would really enhance the building because we’d have nice bakery smells all the time, a demonstration bakery and a bakery outlet,” Deutsch said. “So it was just perfect, in my opinion, everything coming together at the same time.”

Two changes were made to the Backstage Café, which now has espresso service and accepts the Hasbrouck meal exchange, previously only accepted at the Jacobson Faculty Tower Jazzman’s.

Deutsch said many of the changes had to do with the feedback Sodexo received during the forums held last semester.

“Generally people want more and better varied vegetarian vegan options and greater attention and need to allergies and special diets,” Deutsch said. “There’s always the call for greater variety and mixing things up, especially when you’re eating in Hasbrouck every day.”

In October, Deutsch said they will be sending a request for proposals for other major food service providers because their 10-year dining service contract with Sodexo ends in June 2013. He said the best thing to do is put out a bid to see what food providers have to offer and to keep everybody performing well.

Although Deutsch said he feels it is too early to hold a focus group or student forum about the dining changes, he is very pleased with what was accomplished.

“I think Hasbrouck looks a lot better and I think the SUB looks a lot better. The changes that we made to the salad section, as well as the changes made to the pasta and grill section of the SUB are really nice,” Deutsch said.” With the change in the hours, I just think that the quality of the food service this semester is markedly better than in the spring.”