It’s not just Brown; other changes coming for Campus Dining

The design for the renovated Brown Hall includes an outdoor rooftop terrace offering al fresco dining. (Architectural rendering provided by Watson Tate Savory Inc.)

The opening of the renovated Brown Hall for the 2017 fall semester is just one part of a series of changes in the works for Campus Dining at Western Carolina University, including the closure of the food court in A.K. Hinds University Center and the relocation of the popular Chick-fil-A operation into a larger full-service venue in Courtyard Dining Hall.

The 56-year-old Brown Hall, taken offline as a food-service operation in 2010, is being transformed into a contemporary dining facility with a “mountain lodge” feel. It will include the first Steak ‘n Shake west of Asheville, a full-service Starbucks and a food court with up to eight service stations offering complete meals.

Other changes include the transition of Papa John’s pizza to a delivery-only option, the addition of Sushi with Gusto to several locations on campus and the closure of McAlister’s Deli in the Courtyard facility.

With the expansion of food service options that will be available as Brown Hall comes back to life over the summer, university officials decided to close the existing food court in the University Center, resulting in a shuffling of dining options, said Scott Lamond, resident district manager for Aramark, WCU’s food service partner.

“Chick-fil-A has continued to be our top-performing brand on campus for the last two academic years. The decision to repurpose the UC food court for student activities, coupled with a push from corporate Chick-fil-A to offer full-service, resulted in the need to find a new home for our Chick-fil-A,” Lamond said. That new home will be in Courtyard space formerly occupied by McAlister’s Deli, which closed its doors at the end of the spring semester.

“Operating a full-service Chick-fil-A versus an express Chick-fil-A allows us to offer milkshakes, more salads and wraps, additional sides, Tapingo (the mobile ordering app) and Saturday service,” Lamond said. “The expanded space also allows us to accommodate more customers at a given time and provide a better customer service experience.”

The closure of the University Center food court also will result in the loss of a store front for the campus Papa John’s pizza venue. Resuming operation in the fall as a delivery-only option, Papa John’s will continue as a meal plan option for students offering its full menu, with the exception of jumbo single slices.

“If the loss of singles slices has you in a panic, don’t worry,” Lamond said. “To accommodate students who are looking for a quick meal or snack, we will offer Papa John’s single slices in the Courtyard and Brown P.O.D. (Provisions On Demand) markets at some point during the fall 2017 semester.”

Aramark also will continue to offer its popular sushi dishes at an expanded number of locations, including the Courtyard and Brown P.O.D. markets and at the P.O.D Express locations attached to the Java City in the Health and Human Sciences Building and Hunter Library.

Depending upon the pace of construction and renovation, the changes may take place prior to the opening of the fall semester or at some point during the semester. Einstein Bros. Bagels will remain in operation in the University Center.

Students also will see a few changes in their meal plan options for 2017-18.  More information is available online at http://westerncarolina.campusdish.com/.