New dining options on 40 draw mixed reviews

| Staff Reporter

The new South 40 dining facilities located in the South 40 House opened a few weeks ago to mixed student reactions as residents adjusted to major changes in an area that had become a staple of campus and residential life at Washington University.

The former Wohl Center, which had housed Bear’s Den and Center Court, was demolished during the summer as the finishing touches were added to South 40 House and the new dining facilities.

“It’s pretty conspicuously in a transitional phase,” sophomore Stuart Davis said of the dining situation on the South 40. “It is a shame that they couldn’t offer something better for the students now as opposed to students one or two years down the road.”

The new facilities are also facing technical issues, including long lines and lengthy food preparation time.

“The food is better here, but it takes a lot longer for them to make it,” sophomore James Midkiff said. “I think it is going to be better when they finish.”

Some students think the longer wait time may result in a decreasing number of students who eat their meals on the South 40.

“I am definitely less likely to eat here,” said Davis, who plans to pick up meals each day on the Danforth Campus when he returns from class.

The administration is taking these issues in stride, according to Nadeem Siddiqui, resident district manager for Bon Appétit.

“A little pain this year will provide a huge gain in the future,” Siddiqui said.

Despite their shortcomings, the dining facilities are receiving praise from students for the new variety of healthy food available on the South 40.

“There are a lot of healthy food options, which I really appreciate,” freshman Julie Pfeffer said.

This is a common sentiment among other South 40 residents.

“I love the food,” freshman Jennifer Ibe said. I think it’s great they have such a wide variety of selections.”

Sophomore Lexi Klein said: “As time goes on, I think they will be improving the options and selection.”

Bear’s Bakery & Grill, a permanent facility located downstairs in the South 40 House, has a vegetarian station, grill station, sandwich station and bakery.

The lower dining area has seating for 60. New menu selections include falafel, puppy chow and other bakery items.

The unnamed, temporary dining area—located on the first floor of the South 40 House—houses the new Bear Mart, a salad bar, pasta bar, global station, taqueria station and kosher station. There is seating for 350 in this temporary section.

Students can attend a Center Court-style all-you-can-eat brunch on Saturdays and Sundays in the South 40 House’s upper dining facility.

“Six for $6,” the popular program which offers students six $6 value meals each day, will return for its second year as well.

Other changes to the South 40 dining situation include additions to the menus at Ursa’s. The veteran South 40 eatery now offers gelato and quesadillas in lieu of crepes. Wraps are still available.

The current South 40 dining facilities are temporary. The upstairs dining facility will be open only this year before being converted into office space and a kosher kitchen.

The downstairs portion will be expanded to include an Indian station, a Mongolian grill and a permanent Bear Mart. There will be seating for 600.

The facilities will be completed in time for the 2010-11 school year.

“It is going to be one of the top food programs and living and learning concepts in the nation,” Siddiqui said.

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