What’s new in college dining—a roundup of recent additions

Here is a look at some new concepts coming to campuses this semester.
Students dining at Crisol Latin Kitchen
Students at the University of Northern Colorado dine at Crisol Latin Kitchen. / Photo by Woody Myers

With the new year underway, some colleges and universities have taken the opportunity to introduce new dining concepts to students. Here is a look at what’s opening soon.

University of Northern Colorado

From salads to burgers, the University of Northern Colorado is bringing a range of new dining concepts to its University Center. The university recently opened three new restaurants, with another on the way.  When looking at what types of restaurants to bring to campus, the university says it considered student desires, the type of cuisine offered and proximity of different dining options to campus, according to a press release.

New concept Bowlful focuses on salad, rice and noodle bowls and offers healthy choices, including vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options.

Students in line at Bowlful Photo by Woody Myers

It’s joined by Empire State Pizza, a local New York style-pizza company that won a taste test event held at the university last semester. 

Campus workers preparing pizza. Photo by Woody Myers

Another new spot is Crisol Latin Kitchen, which offers Latin cuisine that ranges from healthy to indulgent. The university notes that this restaurant was chosen due to an “overwhelming” student vote.

Lastly, Burger & Co is coming to the campus soon, with plans to open in the middle of January and an outdoor patio in the works for the spring.

University of Tennessee, Knoxville

The University of Tennesse at Knoxville has replaced a campus Subway location with Union Subs, a deli-style eatery that serves Boar’s Head deli sandwiches.

Columbia University

Chef Don’s Pizza Pi opened in Columbia University’s Mudd building last week.

The concept is named after and run by one of the university’s senior culinary team members.

“Chef Donald Bartlett has been an important member of the Columbia Dining team since 2009,” said Michael DeMartino, executive chef of Columbia Dining. “He led a successful opening of the Sub Shop with the team last year, which quickly has become a student favorite. We’re so proud to be able to highlight his culinary expertise and leadership at Chef Don’s Pizza Pi.”

Chef Don's Pizza Pi Photo courtesy of Columbia Dining

Chef Don’s will be open for lunch and early dinner Monday through Friday, and will offer four personal pizza options that are made on the spot. The team plans to start with traditional cheese and roll out daily specials in the coming weeks; specials will include pepperoni, Buffalo chicken and chicken parm. Soon, a vegan special will also be on the menu, the university said in a press release.

Each pizza comes with a side salad, a dessert and a cold beverage or coffee.

The concept also places an emphasis on sustainability. Its pizza crust is locally sourced from Sano Artisan Bakers in Queens, and the napkins used are made from recycled content. In addition, Chef Don's uses compostable or recyclable packaging, whenever possible. 

Odessa College

Mr. Beast Burger opened at Odessa College last week. The concept, which primarily operates as a ghost kitchen, can be found at the Wrangler Grill location in the Saulsbury Campus Center from 11:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. It will offer specialty burgers and sandwiches, such as the Beast Style Burger and the Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich.

George Washington University

A new dining space in Shenkman Hall at George Washington University opened on Jan. 15, according to The GW Hatchet, the university’s student newspaper. The dining hall can seat a total of 450 students, and serves 1,350 students per meal period. The university originally planned to open the space in the fall but supply chain issues led to delays, The GW Hatchet reported.

The hall includes a breakfast station that serves cereals, bagels, waffles and other options throughout the day. In addition, it’s home to seven dining stations, including Bowl Life, Pure Eats, Carvery, Grill, Sweet Shop, a salad bar and a teaching kitchen where students will learn from trained chefs.

University of Notre Dame

Legends of Notre Dame, a restaurant and alehouse, reopened last week after being closed for two years due to the COVID pandemic. The concept has returned with a completely new menu featuring shareables such as a soft pretzel with spicy mustard and beer cheese. Diners can also opt for a full entree, such as Baby Back Ribs or the Maple Mustard Glazed Grilled Chicken Breast. Legends also has a full bar with cocktail options including the Irish Old Fashioned and the Vodka Smash.

University of California, Riverside

A Halal Shack also recently opened at the University of California at Riverside. The restaurant opened on Jan. 12, and is the first campus venue to feature an entirely halal menu, according to InsideUCR.

Halal Shack is inspired by New York City street food and offers an American spin on Middle Eastern and Mediterranean flavors. Additionally, it menus humanely treated meat, as well as locally sourced ingredients and plant-forward options, according to the dining team’s website.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect new information from Columbia Dining. 



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