Students support proposed Bar and Grill
Students may now have a place to enjoy late night programming and deep fried food on campus.
This summer, Student Union proposed adding a bar and grill in the basement of Umrath Hall, where Subway used to reside.
“Students approached us last year about getting a bar on campus,” Student Union President Morgan DeBaun said.
Over the summer, a survey was sent to students and received overwhelming support, with 97 percent of over 1100 students responding positively. This nearly unanimous response convinced the administration to negotiate the project.
“The numbers were impressive,” said Steve Hoffner, associate vice chancellor for operations. At the moment, the project is still in its infancy. DeBaun, Hoffner and Nadeem Siddiqui, the resident district manager of Bon Appétit, are still anticipating further development but are waiting for a completed design of the space.
The proposal outlines a late night bar and grill managed by both the Student Union and Bon Appétit, with a unique menu and nightly programming, such as musical guests. According to the Student Union survey, students would prefer a new dining location that offers authentic grill food, such as hamburgers, chicken wings, and deep fried food. According to Siddiqui, greasy food will draw the upperclassmen from The Loop to main campus for late night food and drinks.
DeBaun feels that a late night bar and grill on main campus will attract upperclassmen of age to stay on campus and out of the community late at night. In addition, she believes that the establishment will revive the late night scene on main campus for students who live off-campus.
At this time, only campus card points and cash would be accepted at the location, as meal points would earn no additional revenue and create a deficit in the new establishment.
“For a campus of this size, we already have too many dining locations,” Hoffner said. He added that as long as the Student Union can ensure that the establishment would at least break even, the project will succeed. The administration would not subsidize the losses.
Almost ten years ago, a bar and grill called the Umrathskeller, or more commonly, the Rat, added to the nightlife on campus. Students flocked in for Rat Night each Thursday, and the bar was packed wall to wall. However, after realizing that the bar provided underage students with alcohol, the administration strengthened restrictions on it. The Rat then collapsed, as underage students could no longer be served alcohol, and attendance severely dropped.
In order to prevent a repeat of the Rat’s downfall, the bar and grill would “focus on programming…not on beer,” according to Siddiqui. In addition, the bar and grill would only serve beer as an alcoholic beverage.
Both Hoffner and DeBaun agree that students will be respectful of the campus and other students when drinking on campus.
“It’s a choice individual students have to make,” Hoffner said, “and students are very respectable of the campus.”