Bite Into Something New: Comet Café Gets a Makeover
Menu Changing at Student Union After Contract With New Food Service
Sept. 3, 2008
Grabbing a bite to eat just got tastier, thanks to a recent change in food service providers at the Comet Café.
During the summer, the University hired Chartwells to replace longtime vendor Aramark. The conversion is expected to introduce new restaurant concepts and food options and provide speedier, more comprehensive service to the hundreds of students, faculty and staff who dine on campus.
Prior to selecting the new provider, committees and student focus groups sampled food and participated in vendor presentations from three bidders for the contract: Chartwells, Aramark and Sodexo. The committee also visited sites currently used by the companies — including at Louisiana State University, Texas Christian University and UT Arlington — before deciding on Chartwells.
A complete transition is expected over the next 12 months, with most of the changes occurring by the end of the semester. Specifically, Pizza Hut will eventually be replaced by Mama Leone’s pizza, and Montague’s Deli has been replaced by Sub Generation and eventually Subway. Chick-Fil-A is the only franchise that will remain unchanged.
According to the new director of food services, Keith Foreman, other new concepts coming to the Comet Café include Coyote Jacks, Chef’s Table, an improved salad bar, a grab-and-go station called Outtakes, and a new drink station that will include fresh brewed iced tea and Pura Vida Coffee.
Foreman added that a planned remodel of the Comet Café is “the perfect way to top off the changes and meet the needs of an increasing number of students.”
Students are looking forward to the transformation, too.
“I’m excited about Subway eventually coming to the Café, but I’ll also enjoy the Chef’s Table,” noted Stephen Boeding, a junior arts and performance major. “I think it’s a good mix of both the old and the new.”
The Chartwells contract will include food services at the new 400-seat dining hall, which is expected to be open in time for the fall 2009 semester. The company is working with UT Dallas administrators to hammer out details of a meal plan for the residents of the new student residence hall, which will also open next fall. All students living in that hall will be required to have a meal plan.
In addition to Comet Café and the dining hall, Chartwells will assist in the management of The Pub, but there will be no change in the student emphasis of the popular eatery and meeting venue.