Subway Opening Completes Comet Café Upgrades

Food Court's Refreshed Design Adds Space and Revises Restaurant Lineup

Feb. 5, 2009

The opening of a Subway franchise on campus Wednesday, Feb. 4, marks the completion of upgrades to the Comet Café in the UT Dallas Student Union.

Offerings at the Comet Café food court include Coyote Jack’s Grill, the Chef’s Table, a sushi bar and Chick-fil-A, as well as a variety of soups, salads, chips and beverages.

Comet Café gives students and campus visitors a place to catch a bite now and will remain a dining alternative later when construction is completed for the new Dining Hall next to the Student Union.

 “Everyone is really excited about the Subway opening,” said Keith Foreman, director of dining services and representative for Chartwells, which UT Dallas hired last summer to take over the University’s food service.

“When our contract began in June, the first thing we did was a survey. Students were interviewed on what they were looking for. They really liked the Chick-fil-A concept but wanted something more. Subway was repeated again and again. It got the best response,” Foreman said.

“At first I was a little concerned,” said Grace Bielawski, UT Dallas sophomore and student body vice president, “because there seemed to be fewer choices at the beginning of the semester. But that was because they were adding the Subway. I think Subway will be really great, both health-wise and because it's popular, cheaper fare for students.”

Once food vendors were selected, Chartwells turned its attention toward reorganizing the food court.

 “Our main challenge was that the Comet Café was too small for the number of students and staff who use it,” Foreman said. “Our aim was to open up the space to make it easier to shop here.

“We couldn’t move the café or make it larger due to space constraints, but we could renovate it. We moved cash registers out farther. We took the sushi concession and moved it to the back, where she could still create her products but she’s not taking up as much space. It’s really more of a refresh than a redesign.”

He said that the Comet Café is doing the same amount of business as before without the long waits.

“Last year, there were long lines. We don’t have that this year,” he said. “I think the students will be very happy. I’ve gotten a lot of responses from them that are positive. They can feel the openness.”

Bielawski plans to be in the Subway line and already knows what she will order.

“I will be getting a six-inch veggie sandwich on honey-oat bread with pepper jack cheese, lettuce, tomato, onions, olives, banana peppers, and chipotle southwest sauce,” Bielawski said. “I get the same sandwich every time.”

Bielawski agrees that the food court has improved.

“I like the way they’ve situated the Comet Café now. It's opened up considerably with the movable cash registers.

“They have labeled soups that are vegetarian, meaning they don’t use chicken broth. They also increased vegetarian options in the grill area, offering Garden Burgers, so that’s another improvement. There are a lot of vegetarians on campus,” she said.

In addition to Comet Café and the upcoming Dining Hall food service, Chartwells manages the Coffee Corner in the School of Management, and The Pub in the Student Union.

For more information, Chartwells will launch a Web site Wednesday, Feb. 11 at www.diningoncampus.com/utdallasdining/.


More Information: Haywood McNeill, UT Dallas, (972) 883-4997, hmcneill@utdallas.edu
Media Contact: Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, newscenter@utdallas.edu

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Students lined up to eat in the Comet Cafe

Once food vendors were selected, Chartwells turned its attention toward reorganizing the food court.

Comet Cafe map
The updated Comet Café was designed to be more user-friendly.

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