Temple Dining adds variety for students

The changes include new decor, menus and food options throughout campus.

Arnessa Smith works at the Saffron Grill, a Halal station that was added to the Valaida S. Walker Food Court this summer. | Margo Reed TTN
Arnessa Smith works at the Saffron Grill, a Halal station that was added to the Valaida S. Walker Food Court this summer. | Margo Reed TTN

When Vince McNeil was a Temple student, living in 1300 Residence Hall, he went to the Louis J. Esposito Dining Center in Johnson and Hardwick Halls “religiously.”

The marketing director at Temple Dining Services said he was shocked when he discovered he could use his meal plan at other locations on Main Campus.

Improvements to the dining experience began in April of this year, and will continue into September.

Changes in meal plans include no restricted Fourth Meal access—now, all meal plans have access to Fourth Meal. The J&H Unlimited meal plan allows students to go to the Louis J. Esposito Dining Hall, plus another location, in any order they choose.

The Frut Bar, formerly located in Pearson and McGonigle halls, has returned to the Valaida S. Walker Food Court in the Student Center. Benny’s Steaks is also featuring a new breakfast menu.

The food court also now has Saffron Grill, a new Halal cuisine station offering flatbreads, shwarama, baba ganoush and other Halal food.

“It’s a really big push we’re making this year,” McNeil said. “We talked with the Muslim Student Association about getting to come out and taste the food and give us some feedback because we want to make sure we’re producing great, authentic quality Halal cuisine for the students.”

Composting is available in the Valaida S. Walker Food Court, the Louis J. Esposito Dining Center and Morgan Hall Food Court. The Louis J. Esposito Dining Center has gone trayless in an effort to minimize food waste.

“It’s a good sustainability effort that we use to make sure to reduce the amount of post-production food waste that we have,” McNeil said. “We’re very proud with the results this year that we’ve been getting.”

New updated stations in the same location include a rotisserie station, a Mexican station, a Pan-Asian station and all-day omelets.

“I think a lot of the lack of [variety] that students find in their dining experiences is that they’re not fully exploring and our mission as the marketing team is to make sure that we’re communicating to students the options that they do have so they can get the full gamut of the Temple dining experience,” McNeil said.

In the Morgan Hall Food Court, Fourth Meal is now available on the second floor at the Dining Center and the Morgan Hall Food Court on the ground level will close at 8 p.m.

Digital ordering kiosks will be installed at Tony Luke’s in Morgan Hall and Cosi in McGonigle Hall.

Satellite retail locations like Fresh Bytes in Tuttleman Learning Center and Lucky Cup in Annenberg Hall have been replaced by The Corner Deli and Simply to Go, respectively. The Corner Deli features made-to-order sandwiches and soups and Simply to Go will soon have pizza as a menu option.

“We’ve done focus groups last year and through those focus groups we got student feedback on flexibility, what they were looking for in meal plans, as well as what they wanted to eat,” Stephanie D’Achillo, marketing manager for Sodexo, said. “As for all the cosmetic changes, it mostly came from us saying that things needed to be refreshed and needed a new look.”

Redesigns on dining locations on campus include Pleasant News, Wok Star and Southside Diner at the Morgan Hall Food Court and Artist’s Palate in Tyler School of Art.

Lian Parsons can be reached at lian.parsons@temple.edu or on Twitter @Lian_Parsons.

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