GW dining expands student options

GW students who purchase a meal plan this fall will have more choices of where they can eat and more flexible dining hours.

The University has eliminated “meal zone” hours and expanded dining services to many of the locations on campus. It also plans to incorporate dining space in the recently purchased Hall on Virginia Avenue.

The University purchased the former Premier Hotel last week and will expand its dining services to take over the space formerly occupied by America’s Best Diner.

The new dining facility, which is located on the first floor of the new freshman residence hall, will offer a continental breakfast seven days a week and an all-you-can-eat buffet dinner Sunday through Thursday, said Nancy Haaga, director of auxiliary and institutional services.

“The Dining Room at Virginia Avenue” also will feature a visiting chefs program, Haaga said. She said GW hopes to have chefs from local restaurants prepare different menus at least once a month.

“It’s going to have a predictable schedule,” Haaga said. “We want to make it a destination for students who don’t live in the hall.”

Dinner hours at the Hall on Virginia Avenue will be from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and the breakfast hours will be from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. during the week and 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on weekends. The Hall on Virginia Avenue will not have lunch service, Haaga said.

Haaga said another major change in the meal plan structure is the University’s decision to go to a campus-wide “declining debit” system. It enables students to deduct a set amount of GW Dining Plan points from their meal plans or to use GWorld debit dollars on their GWorld cards.

In the past, students were required to eat during designated “meal zone” hours, but under the new plan, students will be able to use their meal plans whenever and wherever they choose.

The “declining debit” system will also make a basic meal plan more affordable to students, Haaga said. She said a minimum plan would start at $250 per semester.

“It makes the meal plan more accessible for people who can’t shell out $1,000,” she said.

Haaga said the change in the meal plan system was a response to student feedback.

“We heard from (students) that they wanted maximum flexibility,” Haaga said. “They also wanted to have national brands because they know what to expect.”

Haaga said the student feedback also prompted the University to add more choices of food on campus.

J Street Food Service Director Rawn Burnett said more national brands would be introduced into J Street by this fall.

The University has added Pan Geos Tastes of Asia, Pan Geos Pasta Kitchen and Pan Geos Pizza, which will replace Georgio’s Pasta and Pizza, Burnett said. Also, J Street will add Taco Bell, replacing the Tex Mex station and Chick-Fil-A will serve chicken sandwiches and replace the Colonial Grill, he said.

Burnett said the Vegetarian Station, Dawn’s Best Breakfast Bar, Foggy Bottom Salad Garden, Burger King, the 1821 Deli and Viva Java will remain the same.

“We want to be the best of the best,” Burnett said.

New food venues also will be added to the newly remodeled ground floor of the Marvin Center. Provisions Market will replace the MC Store. The new market will be three times the size of the old MC Store and will sell fresh fruits and vegetables as well as deli meats, Burnett said.

Freshens Frozen Yogurt and Ice Cream, Pretzel Time and Jamba Juice will be open on the ground floor by the first day of school, said Mike Gargano, assistant vice president for Student Academic Support Services. Jamba Juice is a California-based company that makes fruit smoothies.

Dine-A-Vision, a quick order grill, will open on the fifth floor of the Marvin Center after it is renovated this fall Gargano said. It will have an arcade and a wall of big-screen televisions and will be open late, Gargano said.

“It will be a fun, night spot where (students) can just hang out,” Haaga said.

New meal options will also be offered in the Thurston Dining Hall and the ground floor of Mitchell Hall.

The Thurston Dining Hall will go back to an all-you-can-eat buffet during dinner hours, Burnett said. A continental breakfast will be served during the morning and a grab-and-go station, “Thurston Lunch Express,” will sell sandwiches, drinks and fruit for students between classes.

Subway sandwiches and Little Caesars pizza will replace Cortille Cafe in Mitchell Hall. Both places will deliver to students on campus. There will also be a small convenience store in Mitchell.

All on-campus dining locations will accept GW Dining plan points, GWorld debit dollars and cash.

Haaga said there will be more changes to the meal plan in the future.

“We want to have something exciting when students come back each fall,” she said. “We’re listening and responding, and that’s what we’re here for.”

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