GW looks to add coffee concept

Students who eat at J Street can expect more dining options when they return to campus next fall, University dining officials said.

Nancy Haaga, director of Auxiliary and Institutional Services, said she hopes to bring a full coffee concept, with an atmosphere similar to a Starbucks Coffee, and a full bagel menu to J Street by the beginning of the 2000-2001 school year. Lyle Vaughan, assistant director of AIS, said a station that serves home-style cooking, similar to last year’s Colonial Grill, is third on the list of dining service priorities.

Students said the three new concepts, which are in preliminary planning stages, would answer some of their common complaints. These include long lines for coffee at Viva Java, poor food variety for healthy eaters and few home-style food options.

Layla El-Wafi, chair of the Student Association Dining Service Commission, said students’ top complaint involves long lines at Viva Java.

There’s always one worker making a cappuccino while 20 people wait, sophomore Thea Raskin said.

The University’s plan to expand coffee service stems from an increased popularity of specialty drinks on campus, El-Wafi said.

I definitely would put the coffee concept on the top of the list (of priorities), she said.

The concept for a grill that serves home-style food and a full bagel menu stems from a demand for more food variety at J Street, Vaughan said.

I feel bad for freshmen because they have to eat here, senior Rishi Moorthy said. All they have to eat here is fast food.

While Rishi said the dining options at J Street have improved since he was a freshman, he said he would like to see Colonial Grill, which served broiled chicken breasts and fresh-cooked vegetables, back on campus. Other students agreed.

It was the same meal every day, but at least it was healthy, sophomore Ghassan Zeineddine said about last year’s Colonial Grill. Anything healthy would be good. It’s too commercial here.

Freshman Andrea Mazar, a vegetarian, said a station that serves a full bagel menu with sandwich options would quiet some of her complaints about J Street. A more complete bagel station would add variety and allow her to find healthy meals without mixing and matching different options at J Street, she said.

El-Wafi said some complaints about lack of food variety are unwarranted.

I think there are options available, she said. I think students may overlook that.

Some students disagreed, citing the number of fast-food stations on campus and restricted hours of operation of healthier options.

What’s the difference between Burger King and Chic-Fil-A, junior Rusheid Neil said. It’s the same thing with a different name.

While the vegetarian, pasta, pizza, salad and Asian noodle stations offer a balance to fast-food options, students said these options should be open during weekends and later at night during the week.

Haaga said the University is utilizing all space open for food stations on campus. Adding more options would require eliminating some stations or creating alternating schedules between two concepts that would share a common space. Chic-Fil-A, Taco Bell and Burger King will all remain untouched because of their popularity on campus, she said.

Space is always a consideration, Haaga said.

El-Wafi said she will begin to seek student feedback about the three prospective changes. She welcomes student suggestions and hands out student surveys to gauge what changes are important to students, she said.

From my experience, the University has been very responsive, she said. They do take student input seriously. We are definitely wanting student input.

While many students welcome the prospective changes for next year, they said J Street employees may hinder the plan’s success.

No matter what they put in, if the (employees) aren’t doing the things they need to do, it’s pointless what you bring in here, sophomore Marleen Arenivar said.

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