A new food hall helps ease the dining crunch at Purdue University

Students can use meal swipes at eight chef-driven concepts.
Crave Food Hall
Photograph courtesy of Crave Food Hall

Crave Food Hall opened at Purdue University at the start of the fall semester, offering eight chef-driven concepts to both students and the greater Lafayette, Ind., community. The food hall is located in Aspire at Discovery Park, a new apartment community adjacent to the campus.

Aspire created the space to include a variety of stalls and cuisines, modeled after the urban food halls springing up across the country. Included in the lineup are Sonny & Son’s Hot Chicken, led by Kevin Sbraga of “Top Chef” fame, Taco Sabe, Shawarma Shack, Ricky’s Mighty Fine Meatballs, La Dolce Vita Coffee & Caffe, Old Town Italy Pizzeria, Grind & Grill Burgers and Pickle & Rye Sandwich Shop. Several of the concepts are local favorites.

Grind and Grill

Photograph courtesy of Crave Food Hall

Although the food hall is run by Aspire, students can use their prepaid meal swipes to purchase dinner Monday through Thursday evenings from 5:30-7:30. Purdue has set up a separate POS system to record the meal swipes, and the university gets a small amount of revenue for each transaction, says Kathy Manwaring, director of dining business systems at Purdue. Aspire has its own POS terminals, which accept credit cards and cash and are open to all customers.

“We needed additional housing, so we contracted with Aspire to provide 340 beds for undergrads in the apartment complex,” says Manwaring. Purdue hopes that Crave Food Hall will not only provide more diverse and convenient food options for students, it will free up some of the congestion in campus dining venues.

Crave Hall Burger

Photograph courtesy of Crave Food Hall

While the food hall is busy, it doesn’t seem to be cannibalizing business from residential dining halls or retail outlets on campus. In the first few weeks, Crave accounted for just 1% of meals served, says Manwaring.

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