Restaurant options in the Student Union Building should bring something new to the campus, but the old option, Slice of Life, just didn’t meet that expectation according to the Director of Dining Services, John Stewart. Instead, its space has been remodeled into something new, something that Stewart said he hopes will be a strong option for students.
Slice of Life was a restaurant serving pizza and sub sandwiches, which are both options in the dining halls on campus. Stewart credits the lack of success at Slice of Life to students already having an option for those two foods.
Stewart said the new restaurant was picked with a focus on having a healthy option for students. Students will be able to create their own salads and baked potatoes from a variety of vegetables, fruits, cheese, crunch and sauces. The new restaurant’s menu includes four different types of protein as potential upgrades to the meal.
“I think it was just more geared towards healthy options, also to kind of accommodate vegetarian, vegan options as well,” Stewart said. “So in my opinion it was just kind of a well-rounded balance of options to add to the Student Union.”
The original plan was to open the restaurant in August to have it available for students at the beginning of the fall semester, but Stewart said unexpected problems caused some delays. Stewart said, until recently, equipment and supplies have either been stuck in transit, backordered or unavailable. What normally takes eight to 10 weeks to get is actually taking anywhere from 14 to 20 weeks to get in stock, he said. Stewart said the projected opening date will be sometime during October if everything goes as planned.
Stewart is looking forward to students’ reactions when Sizzlin’ Salads & Spuds opens and is excited about students having a healthier option. He is hoping for increased sales in comparison to Slice of Life.
Stewart said the Sodexo staff has been working on opening the new restaurant for students since April 2021.
“Well honestly, I think the anticipation of opening a new location [has been the most rewarding part of the process]. It’s kind of intriguing to myself as well as I like to think that the students, customers, faculty, staff, everybody is kind of excited for the opening date — to be able to take advantage of the healthy option,” Stewart said. “So I think that’s kind of the light at the end of the tunnel.”
“I think the university is very pleased with the selection,” Stewart said. “Of course, I had the conversation with them prior to making the final decision, but everybody seems to think this is going to be very beneficial to everyone on campus.”
Senior Jessica Veenstra is intrigued by the new option. Veenstra said the Slice of Life options were something she could get elsewhere so she is looking forward to having something new.
“Personally, I really love baked potatoes, and I’m excited that it will be a new option, and I think that the salad aspect will be a good thing to have in addition to the salad bars in the dining halls because sometimes options in the dining halls are limited,” Veenstra said.
Stewart said he hopes Sizzlin’ Salads and Spuds is a strong addition to the campus.
Stewart said he noticed more customer interest in the menu and signage that has been hung up.
“I am certainly hoping we have a lot of good customer interaction and everyone truly enjoys the concept that was picked,” Stewart said. “That’s always the challenge when you bring something new in is how it’s going to be received.”