New food venues to open late after months of delays

The openings of three campus-dining venues are still expected to be late, with WOW Caf? and Wingery likely opening next semester.

The construction of WOW is almost completed, but it might not open until after winter break; Potomac House’s Carvings has also suffered construction and permit delays, but is scheduled to open in late November, said Nancy Haaga, director of Campus Support Services. TONIC, a restaurant and bar being built at 21st and G streets, was initially slated to open in January 2007, but will probably open in late February after facing permitting delays and summer weather problems.

To be located in the Hippodrome on the fifth floor of the Marvin Center, WOW will serve wings, quesadillas and burgers, along with beer and wine. Administrators said in late August that its opening was delayed due to a decision to expand the restaurant and obtaining permits. It was slated to open at the beginning of the school year, but was initially delayed until mid-October.

Haaga said last week that University and Sodexho officials are still considering postponing WOW’s opening until next semester. Sodexho has been GW’s food-service provider since Aramark left last spring.

“There are discussions currently going on between University administration and Sodexho to determine the best time frame to open the venue, noting semester schedule and pending winter break in December,” Haaga wrote in a statement.

Executive Vice President and Treasurer Louis Katz said opening WOW this late in the semester might not be worth it, given upcoming student travel for Thanksgiving and winter break.

“A prudent thing is to be sure they open and open correctly for the second semester. For students, if we’re not ready at the beginning of the semester, we’re not ready at the beginning of the semester,” Katz said. “It’s too late in the semester to make it meaningful.”

Katz added that Sodexho’s attention this summer was on opening a revamped J Street on schedule. All the food venues were operating by the start of classes, except the Grounds for Change coffee shop, which opened in mid-October.

“The biggest issue is that Sodexho – and rightfully so – took the new part of the dining was done right and opened on time,” Katz said in an interview Friday. “They put their focus on the J Street venues, and they did a superb job.”

Carvings, which is under the same ownership as Gallery News at 1959 E Street and Gallery Market and Caf? in Ivory Tower, will offer deli sandwiches, breakfast foods and an extensive hot and cold buffet on the first floor of Potomac House. Its delays resulted from the lengthy process of acquiring city permits, which the restaurant didn’t start early enough.

“They’re under a lot of pressure in the city, and we got to work with them,” Katz said. “We should’ve been more on top of (Carvings), but we weren’t. We’re responsible too.”

Though both Carvings and WOW are opening late, Casey Pond, director of the Student Association Dining Services Commission, said he isn’t fazed by the delays.

“I would much rather see a quality venue released a few weeks later rather than a mediocre venue opened early,” Pond said last week. “I believe that students will be very pleased with the quality of the venues which are set to open.”

Freshman residents in Potomac House said they are looking forward to Carvings’ opening so they will have a dining option in their building

“I like to walk, but when I think about going even the short distance to Gallery in the winter,” freshman Joanna Gubin said, “I realize how nice it will be to have someplace to grab food right downstairs.”

-David Ceasar contributed to this report.

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