Aramark: First impressions vary

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Aramark: First impressions vary

Dining: Aramark has yet to open some venues on campus, including in the BSC.
Ryan Quinn / Photo Editor

Dining: Aramark has yet to open some venues on campus, including in the BSC. Ryan Quinn / Photo Editor

Dining: Aramark has yet to open some venues on campus, including in the BSC. Ryan Quinn / Photo Editor

Dining: Aramark has yet to open some venues on campus, including in the BSC. Ryan Quinn / Photo Editor

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Dining: Aramark has yet to open some venues on campus, including in the BSC. Ryan Quinn / Photo Editor

Dining: Aramark has yet to open some venues on campus, including in the BSC.
Ryan Quinn / Photo Editor

This semester has seen Aramark replace Chartwells as the dining services provider for Saint Louis University. The change has brought in many new dining locations such as Einstein Bros. Bagels, Panda Express and the new Billiken Club, as well as changes in the way meal swipes work and the variety of food choices at the dining halls.

Chartwells had been the dining service provider at SLU for over a decade. Replacing them is Aramark, a Philadelphia-based business which serves over 600 universities and preparatory schools nationally. Aramark has contracts with various national chains to bring in Panera Bread (known as St. Louis Bread Co. locally), Starbucks, and Qdoba to join the other new restaurants that are now present on campus.

Bringing in this new company has been a novel experience for many students and staff who have grown accustomed to the old experience. For those students using meal swipes, they are no longer allotted a certain number of swipes per week. Instead, students are given a set number of swipes for the entire semester and are able to use them as they please.

Other changes include the swapping of old dining options for new ones. The Billiken Club replaced the Mexican-themed Salsarita’s, and the Fusz dining area will turn into the Billiken’s Lair later this fall. Argo Tea inside the Pius XII Library has become Einstein Bros. Bagels.

Most of the changes have been seen favorably by a majority of students; however, one replacement has a demographic of students at SLU less than thrilled.

Many vegetarian students found Terra Ve, a vegetarian/vegan location in Clemons Hall, to be fantastic for their needs. Terra Ve took meal swipes and offered multiple vegetarian choices, as well as gelato and vegan snacks for purchase using flex points. Despite this popularity, Terra Ve has been replaced by a Starbucks. This move has been met with some controversy, as many students felt that a Starbucks was not necessary on campus because the fully stocked Starbucks located across from Reinert Hall, was already sufficient.

Other than the loss of vegetarian options though, students are very complimentary towards the new additions around campus. The Panda Express in the Busch Student Center has drawn a lot of praise from various students.

“The food here just hits the spot,” said Tarun Yandamuri, a sophomore at SLU. “It is great comfort food after a tough test. I’m not a big fan of the lines, but it doesn’t take too long.”

Panda Express is not the only place with a strong following; The Billiken Club also has its fans.

Tannia Pourdavarani said about the Billiken Club, “I love it.  The deep fried mac n’ cheese is just so yummy.” When asked about her opinion of the atmosphere of the location, Tannia called it “great” and “a fun place to go with friends.”

Kent Porterfield, the vice president for student development, was optimistic about Aramark’s new contract with SLU. He said, “In selecting Aramark, we have chosen a partner that we believe will enhance the campus dining experience for all members of our SLU community.”