In Boston University’s Union Court, two food vendors, Basho and Panda Express, reopened Monday. Alongside the reopenings, a new food concept, The Market, was unveiled Tuesday. The Market’s launch was accompanied by the closing of three other food options: Charles River Bread Co., Cheesology and Cranberry Farms.
This process is part of a renovation project that began over winter intersession and is expected to end by Sept. 1. The project involves the addition and removal of food concepts, along with updates to the kitchen and seating areas. The construction is taking place in phases, allowing students to continue to dine in and use the space.
The George Sherman Union occupies a central part of BU’s campus, and Colin Riley, a BU spokesperson, said this central location will allow for many students to enjoy the renovated space.
“Dining Services always want to keep the offerings fresh and meet the needs of our students,” Riley said. “Particularly in the GSU food court, where a lot of people around campus end up going for meals.”
In a tweet, BU Dining Services announced that Cranberry Farms and Cheesology were permanently closing as part of this renovation. The newly unveiled renovations seek to provide students with a better dining experience in terms of efficiency and superior options, Riley said.
“We are able to address the lines of some places, like the salad and the sushi places, where there are always students queuing up to get their drinks or meals,” Riley said. “And also to provide, again, quality products.”
With the opening of these new spaces, students can use new technology features, making the dining experience “cashierless” in many ways. For example, BU students can now download the Grubhub app and use it at the new stores as well with Starbucks, Paul Riel, the associate vice president of BU’s Auxiliary Services, said.
Additionally, The Market uses a food weight system, pricing its product at $8.99 a pound, according to the BU Dining Services website. Basho has also introduced a computer ordering system, where students receive text alerts when their food is ready.
“[The Market’s weight system] is another way of [students] managing [their] food order more efficiently,” Riel said.
Along with technological changes, menus are changing with the renovation. The Market hosts entirely new food options that will be updated every few weeks, while Panda Express has expanded their menu and Basho is exploring possibilities, according to Riel.
In terms of what to expect from future food concepts, Riel said students will have a salad station with more options and premade packages, as well as a new soup concept. Riel also said they have many factors in mind when deciding which changes to make.
“We will offer gluten free, vegan and vegetarian options, and allergies are taken into consideration in designing the food concepts,” Riel said. “So hopefully you can find food that satisfies your taste buds and is safe for you to consume.”
In regards to seating, Riel confirmed that the GSU will have the same number of seats as before the renovation began.
For Auxiliary Services, the aim of the renovation project is the same as all of their project objectives: to improve and ease the lives of BU students and aid in their wellbeing.
“We are always striving for improving the student experience,” Riel said. “Our ultimate goal is to help you succeed academically. We hope to gain higher satisfaction and please students, which should translate to students being successful and walking across the graduation stage.”
Chastidy Rubin, a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences, said she has enjoyed her experiences at The Market and the relocated Basho, and likes the new aesthetics of the venues. However, she also said that she is upset the renovation is taking away some seating space.
“The biggest complaint that I think most of us have and myself is that the GSU already had a small amount of seating and now it is even smaller,” Rubin said. “But I do like [the new stores] and I do like the new Grubhub system with pick-up and stuff. I do think that is really helpful.”
Margaret Fiondella, a freshman in CAS, said she loves the food in the GSU and is in favor of the renovation and the new options.
“I think [the renovation] is really nice I mean the construction does not really bother me at all.” Fiondella said. “I think it was renovated really nicely.”
Tejas Desai, a freshman in the College of Engineering, said that he does not enjoy the inconveniences of the construction and the newly opened stores, citing the long lines at Panda Express and the closed options that he previously enjoyed.
“The new look is definitely something to get used to,” Desai said. “Right now, it is kind of all over the place because there are the un-redone places along with the newer ones. I hope that there is more seating because the last time I was here there was absolutely no place to sit.”