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January 15, 2009
By Jon Fortenbury
With Bytes and Villa Fresh Italian Kitchen recently opening, the University continues to expand on dining options. A sports grill and Panda Express will also open in the near future.
“The idea is to provide as many points of service around campus as we can,” said Russell Meyer, associate director of housing operations and dining services.
Located on the second floor of the Joe Crowley Student Union, Villa Fresh Italian Kitchen serves pizza, spaghetti, hot sandwiches, salads and more. Part of Villa Enterprises, the franchise has locations all over the world. During the spring semester, the restaurant will be open until 8 p.m. during the week and later on the weekends.
Bytes serves Peets coffee, pastries, sushi, premade sandwiches, salads and more. Located on the first floor of the Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center, Bytes is open from 7:30 a.m. until 9 p.m. on Monday through Thursday and until 2 p.m. on Fridays. Though located in close proximity to the Starbucks in the Student Union, Meyer thinks there can never be enough coffee shops on campus.
“It’s (Bytes) very convenient for those people that are in the Knowledge Center studying,” Meyer said. “We want to try to be as convenient as we can.”
A Panda Express will open before the end of the spring semester on the second floor of the Student Union. The restaurant will contain the typical Panda Express menu, plus sushi.
Also in the works for the future is a sports grill on the third floor of the Student Union. Consisting of more than just burgers, the sports grill will feature live entertainment. However, unlike many sports grills, no alcohol will be served.
“There are so many opportunities for students that are of age to drink elsewhere in the community,” said Chuck Price, director of the Student Union. “We’re looking to provide students opportunities to socialize whether they’re over 21 or under 21.”
The University continues to integrate local, regional and national companies on campus, based on a unanimous opinion the students voiced in surveys. But Price assures that many other options besides food exist in the Student Union. The Student Union has movies, clubs, the bookstore and many other opportunities for students.
“It’s not just the food locations,” Price said. “It’s the mix of opportunities students have here. This is their building.”