A new year, new dining venues

Students venturing into the Marvin Center and other campus buildings this fall will find a variety of new dining venues with late-night hours.

GW gave the green light to a complete renovation of J Street and the Marvin Center’s ground floor over the summer and opened new shops in the Ivory Tower. In addition, the residence hall at 1957 E Street now houses a Starbucks and Subway, and a 7-Eleven occupies the basement of Mitchell Hall.

Marvin Center

J Street will feature Wendy’s; a Mexican restaurant called Baja Sol Tortilla Grill; Miso, an Asian restaurant; and Tuscan Oven, a brick oven pizzeria. Except for Miso, all of the food court’s eateries close at 2 a.m. Monday through Thursday, and at midnight during the remainder of the week.

Most of the Marvin Center’s ground floor will house a revamped grocery store, the District Market. The upscale store will feature a complete line of health and beauty products, a full produce market with a fruit and vegetable selection, dairy products featuring imported and domestic cheeses and a full service bakery.

The market closes at 2 a.m. Monday through Thursday, at midnight on Friday and at 11 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

J Street will continue to house a Subway, a refurbished Starbucks with larger seating areas, Einstein Bros. Bagels and Jamba Juice. These venues, some of which were formerly housed in the Marvin Center basement, are all located on the first floor.

The District Market encompasses spaces that once contained Provisions, STA Travel and other shops. A miniature Washington Monument acts as a winding staircase that connects the basement and first floor.

Aramark, GW’s food service provider, paid for all J Street renovations but would not disclose the amount spent on the project. Earlier this summer, University officials said the renovations cost Aramark about $4.5 million.

Aramark solicited feedback from more than 4,000 students, faculty and staff using surveys and focus groups to determine which venues would occupy the renovated spaces.

The Ivory Tower

Five independently operated venues are located in the basement and first floor of the Ivory Tower, a 729-bed residence hall that opened its doors this week.

Because Aramark is not running the Ivory Tower’s venues, students will be unable to make tax-free purchases using Colonial Cash, as they have done in J Street. The same is true for the new Starbucks and Subway shops that opened on the ground floor of 1957 E Street this summer.

Deborah Wright, director of the GWorld card program, said paying with Colonial Cash at the new venues would be “no different than going to Bertucci’s to use your GWorld.”

Coggins’, a sandwich shop that officials have compared to Potbelly’s, is scheduled to open in Ivory Tower Aug. 25 and will be accessible from a storefront entrance on G Street and have outdoor seating.

The residence hall’s other venues will be located on its basement floor in a 125-seat food court. Two establishments, the Gallery Caf? and Gallery Market, will open when classes begin on Sept. 2. Pita Pit will also be located on the ground floor, though GW has not said when it will open.

Officials are still looking to fill the fifth space and will not say which companies they are talking with. In May, an official said GW was in preliminary discussions with Dunkin’ Donuts. Louis Katz, GW’s executive vice president and treasurer, would not say whether his office was negotiating with the coffee and donut chain.

All venues in the Ivory Tower will be open to the public and the University community. The hours of the operation at all new locations have not been finalized.

Coggins’ outdoor tables have become a source of concern for members of the Advisory Neighborhood Commission, a community group that assists the District in deliberating local issues. The commission’s objection will not result in an elimination of the outdoor seating, however.

“Members on the commission are concerned over traffic and noise,” said senior Graham Long, who sits on the six-person commission. “Nothing like this has been approved in the past and some (members) are a bit hesitant.”

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