Owens Food Court at Owens Hall is being remodeled for the first time since 1992. The renovation will provide a new layout for the food court while adding more items to the menu.
According to Associate Director for Dining Services Brian Grove and Assistant Director for Owens Dining Center Lauren Snelson, construction is expected to start on March 9 and will extend into the summer. The tentative completion date will be shortly before the fall semester of 2019. However, Grove assured Owens will still be “open for business” during the construction.
A majority of restaurants will still be available to students, including Sweet Temptations, Farms and Fields Project, the Garden, Philly City, Frank’s Deli and Freshens. Owens’ more popular places like the Carvery, Bowl Dynasty, Lotsa Pasta, La Cantina and Flip’s will be temporarily closed. However, popular menu items such as General Tso’s orange chicken and Carvery’s mac-n-cheese will still be available for purchase as grab-n-go items.
Grove said that Owens can still maintain services by keeping some shops like Philly City, Frank’s Deli, Sweet Temptations and Freshens open along with their grab-n-go menu for students’ convenience.
Grove emphasizes that Owens will try to keep all of its popular menu items in it’s grab-n-go section. Other popular dishes like Lotsa Pasta chicken parmesan and La Cantina quesadillas will be available for pick up.
Owens will mark the start of renovation with a construction wall from La Cantina to Carvery. The addition will close off the functioning kitchen behind the serving stations and move equipment in front to allow customers to actually see their meal being cooked before them. This eye-to-dish concept helps create an inclusive atmosphere shared by both cooks and customers.
The project will also include aesthetic changes, such as new tile being placed along the wall.
According to Grove and Snelson, the highly anticipated project has been well-received among the dining administration and student focus groups. They hope their excitement will spread across campus as this renovation will improve both the cosmetics and flavor options of the dining hall.
Owens will undergo major menu changes by adding some new dining concepts to the kitchen while altering some of the old.
Snelson notes this rehaul will be keeping the popular dishes while adding more dishes to the menu. The most significant addition will be converting Bowl Dynasty and Flip’s to a brand-new restaurant that will be called “Global Kitchen,” spelled as Glow-bowl Kitchen. This new addition will be a “Cava-inspired” eatery with international bowls such as Thai, Korean, Indian and Mediterranean themed meals.
Students and guests will also have the option to create dishes unique to their personal preference. The process will follow a series of choices beginning with a base selection of greens or grains, proteins — including vegetarian alternatives — and toppings.
“(Students can) build their own meals at a consistent price rather than a la carte,” Snelson said.
According to Grove and Snelson, the decision to renovate Owens was reached due to the consensus that efficiency needed to improve.
“(The final goal is to) get ‘em in and get ‘em out,” said Owens employee Jordan Patton, who will be working during the renovation.
Finally, the renovation will be addressing this issue with a new layout including a line solely dedicated to La Cantina quesadilla pick-up. With a student population of about 30,000, accommodating hot meals to each and every student has been challenging with Owens’ current set-up.