Changes coming to DePaul Loop cafeteria

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A rendering of what the dining hall in the DePaul Center will look like post-renovation (Photo courtesy of JAMES LEE)

DePaul’s Loop campus cafeteria is undergoing major renovations this summer in efforts to modernize the dining room and expand current food options, including a new coffee shop.

For students, renovations to the cafeteria include a new variety of food options as well as changes to the overall atmosphere of the dining room.

“We’ll have the traditional staples that college students love to eat, but there’s some things that we’re going to add. We’re going to offer a rotation of different cuisines and mirror some of the foods you can find downtown,”  James Lee, Resident District Manager of Chartwells Dining Services at DePaul, said.

Aside from chicken tenders, fries and burgers, additions to the food options include a salad bar, hot station, convenience items, and Mediterranean, Vietnamese and Latin cuisines. Lee said price ranges will be competitive with surrounding businesses.

[box]Read: DePaul’s Dining Services revamps Lincoln Park options[/box]

Located on the eleventh floor of The DePaul Center, the cafeteria has not seen major improvements since it was first built in 1993.

Lee said after renovations were completed on the Lincoln Park campus cafeteria in 2010, the next step was to modernize the Loop campus cafeteria.

“Back in 2006-2008, the Lincoln Park cafeteria was really outdated,” Lee said. “We decided to do Lincoln Park first, but the next phase was to do the Loop. It needed a facelift. We’re going in and overhauling the whole thing.” Lee estimates that on average 800 students, staff and faculty dine in the facilities daily.

The largest addition will be the new coffee shop, which will be located in front of the dining room seating. Lee said the coffee shop will have extended hours and ample seating for students to have the option to study or lounge.

SGA has partnered with Chartwells and DePaul to voice student input on the renovations, suggesting the continuation to serve local fair trade coffee.

“We’re trying to support local business and get more of a Chicago feel in the cafeteria as much as we can,” Lee said. “We want to do everything we can to showcase and highlight everything we have in the city so for food service, it be great to partner up with one of those vendors.” The local roaster will be finalized by next month.

SGA president Vanessa Cadavillo said the environment of the cafeteria makes all the difference for students.

“The layout of the new cafeteria will be like how the Brownstones in the Lincoln Park campus is laid out,” Cadavillo said. “Students are often there meeting with people or doing homework and the idea was to transform that environment to the Loop campus.”

Renovations on the atmosphere of the cafeteria include a new layout as well as updated decorations. “They’ll be some additional things you’ll see like different pictures, iconic DePaul photos and a blue color scheme. We want to keep it looking modern,” Lee said.

Changes will be made with the continued relationship with SGA to give the cafeteria a more DePaul campus feel. For Cadavillo, creating a campus feel will connect the two campuses together and create a cohesive DePaul experience.

“Students are reminded of where they are and they’ll feel more at home at DePaul,” she said.

The Loop campus cafeteria is expected to be fully open by September 8.

“Every student should go check it out and see what it’s like, it’s something that will be convenient,” Lee said. “The seating area will be pretty nice and will include charging stations and outlets. It’s going to have a whole new feel to it and we hope students will spend a lot of time there.”