By: Roger Hoke – Staff Writer
The Brown Street Bistro, a new dining services cafeteria, opened on the fifth floor of Fitz Hall Oct. 13.
Dining services aimed to put a cafeteria into Fitz Hall, previously known as the College Park Center, but certain restrictions stopped it from occurring, according to Executive Director of Dining Services Paula Smith.
“We have been getting requests from staff and faculty for about five years now, since people have started moving over to [Fitz Hall] for classes,” Smith said. “There were a lot of meal plan students taking classes there, and there was not a dining services location.”
The first problem with putting a new eating establishment into the building was that no location was available for usage.
“The ideal location for it was a lobby, and there was no space,” Smith said. “We could not find a good location so we tabled it for five years.”
The second problem was the lack of access some students had to certain parts of Fitz Hall.
“We wanted anyone to have access to it, and in the past there used to be a lot of restrictions on who could go where in [Fitz Hall],” said Smith.
“We have more population to draw from to use the services, since the rules on entry to different parts of Fitz Hall have become more lenient,” she said. The dining services staff believes the Brown Street Bistro is good for student use and for anyone looking for a place to eat in Fitz Hall.
“It is more contemporary, and it is for the student population,” Mary Eilbeck, associate director of Marycrest dining hall, said. “It’s bright, it’s one-on-one and it’s convenient for anyone that goes there… it’s unique because it’s more ‘grab-and-go,’ more ‘make-and-take,’ but there’s still seating.”
The bistro will offer fresh made sandwiches, along with soup, bagels, sushi and more. Smith explains the food options are similar to that of Virginia W. Kettering dining hall, but it is different in some ways; the main one being the additional choices of “grab-and-go” options.
“Menu-wise it has a lot of the same items that The Grainary in VWK has,” Smith said. “But it’s different because if you’re in a hurry, you can grab and go, and if you’re not, you can get whatever you want.”
The hours for the restaurant are modest right now, but it will be open for longer hours in the future if it is successful.
“It’s open from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., but we are looking to add additional hours,” Eilbeck said. “It’s breakfast and lunch, but we are hoping to have early evening meals as well.”
Employment opportunities will be made available for any student looking to work at the establishment.
“For the most part, it will be 80 to 90 percent student employees,” Eilbeck said.