Towson Univ. Dining Hall Soars in Popularity

Dinner volume more than doubled at Towson (MD) University's Newell Dining Hall as a result of a $2.2-million renovation completed this past fall.

Improved lighting, the implementation of display cooking and the addition of menu items such as grilled cheese and panini sandwiches were among the modifications made to the 370-seat dining facility. Newell Hall is now equipped with several stations serving a wide range of offerings including kosher foods, upscale deli items, a Mongolian grill, a carving station, vegetarian and vegan options, and more.

Much-needed transformation: "[The dining hall] was in dire need of some renovation, and we expected it would become much more popular once it was renovated," says Dick White, Chartwells' resident district manager at Towson Univ. "But we are somewhat surprised by how much more popular it is."

Before the renovation, the facility was fragmented into small areas, food was prepared solely in the back of the house, and the deli was allocated only a 3-ft. front, White adds.

Increased hours also seem to have had a positive impact on the hall's volume. Newell Dining Hall previously only served lunch Monday through Friday and dinner Monday through Thursday. It now opens from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and offers brunch on weekends from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Other features of the renovated hall include a daily selection of two soups, an assortment of fresh baked breads, an extensive salad bar, self-serve ice cream and frozen yogurt, and the Fresh Grill, which serves up cheese steak and chicken breast sandwiches, hamburgers, hot dogs and french fries.

Attracting new diners: "We see a lot of additional faculty and staff going into the dining hall now, which didn't happen much in the past," adds White.