In all honesty, it is disappointing that dining services has decided to discontinue the Sbarro pizzeria in Squires Student Center. Sbarro’s hours of operation were more convenient than most dining halls on campus and was my hot spot for dinner on Sunday nights, when Owens was unbelievably overcrowded.
However, following the announcement, rumors spread that Sbarro would be replaced with a Panda Express, an absolutely delicious Chinese food chain. With this knowledge, I was not too opposed to Sbarro’s replacement. In fact, I welcomed the prospect of a Chinese restaurant chain on campus to compete with D2’s and Owens’ mediocre Chinese dishes.
However, the university dashed the hopes of many students when they officially made a statement that Sbarro would be replaced by a burger joint. That is right – another burger eatery on campus. Sure, Sbarro was one of many places where students could purchase and consume great pizza but now, like Sbarro, this new restaurant will just become one of many.
One concern that many have is the costs to eat at this new establishment. The school decided against bringing in another outside chain and opted to utilize dining services for this project, which is not a problem as long as it is run as smoothly as the other dining halls are. If the restaurant overprices its food, no one will want to waste their time stopping there. Overpriced meals were one of the reasons why Sbarro shut down in the end. It currently costs almost $5.00 for two slices of pizza; regardless of size, that is completely exorbitant.
This new burger establishment will also have major competition on campus. For starters, there is no better deal on campus than to pay $3.95 for dinner at D2 to consume as many burgers as you want – certainly not the best quality but definitely cheap. Also, much more impressive burgers are served at Flip’s in Owens Dining Hall. If this new dining option does not have some distinctive or redeemable characteristic, such as lower prices, better food, or longer hours of operation, this joint will sink much sooner than Sbarro did.
With over 25,000 students attending Virginia Tech, one would think all of the dining halls would be utilized equally. However, this is not the case in any sense. There is a distinct reason why some students prefer one dining hall over another and these qualities are the reason they last. Though Sbarro had some tasty pizza, saving your money and going for the cheaper option sometimes tastes just as good.
With that being said, maybe they should have let the students vote on what food establishment they want to take the place of Sbarro. In a “Collegiate Times” story on the new restaurant, the associate director of food for Squires stated, “After discussions with the SGA and the council, Moseley said, ‘we’re going with burgers.’ I do not see the student body involved in this process whatsoever, with the exception of a small number in the student government. That alarms me greatly, as the few who voted to bring the burger joint to campus are not the only ones who will end up eating at it.