This fall, new food options at the Student Activities Center (SAC) and University Center (UC) join tried-and-true on-campus dining venues like the Hurricane Food Court and dining halls.
Students are returning to a two-story Rathskeller, a full-service Red Mango, a second Starbucks, an exclusive-to-campus deli concept and to top it all off, the addition of Lime Fresh Mexican Grill.
Aside from the Rat, it’s all part of the Dining Master Plan, which was developed in 2011, and these changes comprise only the first step in a two-phase plan. Phase 2 is scheduled to commence next summer, according to Sandra Redway, executive director of Auxiliary and Dining Services.
Lime, which is open everyday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. as of Friday, is a fast casual Mexican restaurant. The closest one to campus is located in downtown Dadeland, but now students will only have to walk as far as the UC Patio, where Lime has taken the spot of the Rathskeller’s former location.
The on-campus Lime will offer their full menu of tacos and burritos with more than 50 hot sauces and a homemade salsa bar, according to Michael Ross, resident district manager of Chartwells. However, they will not be serving alcoholic drinks; instead, the restaurant offers non-alcoholic frozen beverages.
“I think it’s great that Lime is open seven days a week and has such long hours,” junior Caroline Levens said. “I love Mexican food, so it’s awesome that students have that option right at the University Center.”
With Lime now on campus, Salsarita’s – the Mexican concept by Chartwells that was located in the Hurricane Food Court – has been taken out.
Red Mango, which was introduced as a temporary food cart last fall, now has its permanent full-size location in the SAC. In addition, a second Starbucks location is open in the SAC, which students are hoping will alleviate the traditionally-long lines at the coffee shop next to Richter Library.
“They’re really close to each other, so I didn’t really know if it was necessary, but I think it’s a good location,” junior Jackson Firlik said. “I think now a lot of people are going to come to this new one, but hopefully it’ll balance out by the middle of the year.”
The least familiar of the new options is Made to Order (M2O). It is a Chartwells sandwich concept that was developed exclusively for UM, according to Ross.
“It was designed to satisfy the need for amazing sandwiches, paninis, soups and salads in the newly built Student Activities Center,” he said. “The menu will focus on high-quality ingredients, rotating specials and grab-and-go items for the busy student running to a meeting upstairs.”
Student Government (SG) members, who helped with the development of the Dining Master Plan by participating as part of the Dining Task Force composed of students, faculty and staff, have already heard from students that they are very excited about the new dining options.
“The new options provide students convenience and a more diverse culinary experience,” SG Press Secretary Adam Orshan said.
The renovation of Mahoney-Pearson Dining Hall was also part of Phase 1 of the project. President Donna E. Shalala will hold a ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday to mark the transformation.
Expected to be complete by fall 2014, Hecht-Stanford Dining Hall will likewise be revamped, and the food court in the University Center will also receive a makeover, according to Redway.
“Due to the magnitude of the plan, the University decided to implement it in two phases,” Redway said.
Although it is not part of the Dining Master Plan, probably the most anticipated dining update on campus is the two-story Rathskeller in the SAC. Now in its final form, the Rat opened Wednesday and has seen crowds of students since.
It features waited service only on the lakeside patio and counter service indoors, according to Everett Price, manager of the Rathskeller.
This reincarnation of the original Rat marks the return of favorites, such as milkshakes and other desserts, as well as expanded hot-menu items like a new burger named after the SAC.
Senior David Garcia, who has had the chance to see all three versions of the Rat, said he likes the new “modern and fresh” Rathskeller better than the last two.
“The original was very homey. It felt like a hangout area, but I do really like how this is so spacious,” he said.