Elevation Burger, Salad Creations, and Subway are expected to open to students at the new Hoya Court in the Leavey Center next Wednesday, Oct. 30.
The food court, originally intended to re-open at the beginning of the fall semester, has been undergoing renovations since the summer.
“We’re very excited we’re nearing the end of the project,” said Associate Vice President and Chief Business Officer of University Services Deborah Morey. “All the equipment is in, the construction is up, the names for each of the concepts is up, the menu boards are in, the registers are up, the fountain machines are in. It’s looking really good.”
Administrators are waiting on an inspection of the fire suppression system for the cooking equipment, a health department inspection, and a certificate of occupancy from the District of Columbia before announcing Wednesday as the official opening date of the food court.
“If anything’s not right with the inspection, we’d have to fix that, and that may have a day or two delay in the opening,” Morey said.
The aim of the reconstruction was to replace the Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and KFC previously in placewith more environmentally sustainable and healthier options, as suggested by students in University-wide surveys conducted by the food services and by the Hoya Court planning committee last year.
“The good thing is we went from four venues that were very tight and crowded to three very strong brands. We believe the experience will be better for those that go to Hoya Court,” said Joelle Wiese, associate vice president of auxiliary business services.
Though the project has faced several delays pushing the opening date from the beginning of the fall semester to the end of October, including infrastructure and licensing issues, the challenges were expected.
“We took on an aggressive project back in the spring, and we knew that if one minor thing did not line up well we’d actually have some delays in the overall project, and we’ve actually had very few of those to our surprise,” Morey said.
The temporary wall covering the new food vendors will be taken down once the fire prevention inspection is approved within the next few days. Once the wall comes down, two photographic murals will cover the food court’s walls—one of Key Bridge with Georgetown in the background, and the other a horizon of the District of Columbia. The fight song and a graphic of Jack the Bulldog will also be painted on one of the walls.
“We are very excited about the seating area because that is all student design,” Wiese said. The Hoya Court student committee, composed of five students, chose the murals and wall designs.
The Einstein Bagel Bros’ kiosk will move back to its previous location on the third floor of Regents Hall. Roasted, the rotisserie temporarily in Hoya Court, will be removed, and the temporary Subway beside Starbucks will be once again replaced by the Grab n’ Go location.
“What I’m most excited about are the hours. It’s just a nice food option to have on campus in addition to Epicurean that is open late,” said Adam Ramadan (SFS ‘14), GUSA vice president, who has been part of the student committee for Hoya Court planning that helped produce its new image.
Elevation Burger will remain open until 11p.m., while the other options will close earlier at 8p.m.
Morey expects the soft opening to take place next Monday, primarily as a test run for the vendors, and hopes for the official opening to take place next Wednesday.
“We’ll probably do a ribbon cutting in the morning, and then we’ll have lots of goodies, drawings, some samplings of the burgers and the shakes from Elevation Burger, and I think some soups from Salad Creations, so you can try some of the various items. Michael Burger [owner of the company] from Burger Elevation will be here, so it will be a fun celebration,” Morey said.
Aramark, which operates most of the food services in the University, including Starbucks, Cosi, O’Donovan Hall and Grab n’ Go, has replaced the previous Hoya Court contractor, Yasmin Parveen, whose license was revoked this summer because he failed to pay sales taxes. The new management will allow for greater flexibility in contracting options for the future of Hoya Court, should student demand for food services change.
“It’s a combination of what the students are asking for and what we can go get,” Morey said.
The University’s Sustainability at Georgetown Initiative is also working alongside Elevation Burger to create a more sustainable food service model. Georgetown will be a beta test for Elevation Burger’s scheme to use leftover vegetable oil as a fuel source for buses.
“We’re going to go through the master planning process, identify additional needs and work in a logical way to address what the plan would suggest that we need,” Morey said about the future food services on campus.