First Stop closes, changes made to Chartwells dining services


Photo credit/ Kyle Clouse

Food items previously served in First Stop will now be offered at the Atrium Café in McGowan or at Nazareth Dining Hall.

Rachel Looker, Editor-in-Chief

First Stop, an on-campus dining location located in the lower level of Regina Hall, is closed for the upcoming fall semester, said Director of Dining Services Jon Barzensky in a letter addressed to students and the Marywood community.

In the letter, Barzensky provided updates on recent changes being made to the dining services on campus.

“There has been a shift in enrollment and a decrease in the population of residential students, and as a result, adjustments to our operation must be made,” said Barzensky in the letter.

According to the letter, these changes will not affect Dining Services overall goal to provide the best quality dining options while keeping the cost of meal plans down.

In an interview with The Wood Word, Barzensky said the university is trying to consolidate food sources because Marywood does not have as many students on campus. With fewer students, not all dining locations can remain open.

First Stop closing, Atruim to offer more items

With First Stop closed, food items previously served there will now be offered at the Atrium Café in McGowan or at Nazareth Dining Hall.

Barzensky said items that have been served in the past at the Atrium will not change. The menu at the Atrium is expanding to offer more items such as burgers, which were previously offered at First Stop.

To accommodate for more students eating at the Atrium, an additional employee will be added to manage the anticipated increase of customers.

“It’s hard because the Atrium is only equipped for the square footage it’s equipped for,” said Barzensky.

Nazareth Dining Hall expands options to include takeout

Nazareth Dining Hall will also offer a wider variety of food options such as rice bowls, burritos, and salads.

The main dining hall also will offer a new takeout service that provides students with a way to get food quickly and on the go, said Barzensky in the letter.

The takeout system will require one meal swipe or the cost of the door price of the Nazareth Dining Hall for students without a meal plan. Students may select food from any of the stations in the dining hall, which they can put in a to-go container to take with them, according to Barzensky.

“At least it gives everyone a bigger variety of options for takeout,” said Barzensky. He added it will “provide variety to people who are looking for vegetarian, vegan or gluten-free options.”

Nazareth is also offering an expanded variety of on-the-go and prepackaged options. Coffee will be available in the dining hall, since The Connection, a dining location in the Fireplace Lounge in Nazareth Hall, is now permanently closed.

Changes to Learning Commons Café expected to improve service

In addition to changes at Nazareth and the Atrium, the Learning Commons Café will also feature some changes for the fall semester.

According to Barzensky’s letter, self-serve coffee is now available at the Learning Commons Café. Two registers will remain open during the busiest hours to provide faster service.

Barzensky said in an interview there was too much variety of food items offered at the Learning Commons Café last year, which made it difficult to serve customers quickly.

This year, the café will feature less variety and offer a more consistent menu to make the lines move faster. Coffee, yogurt, and smoothies will still be served at the Learning Commons and Late Night is still available in the café.

In October, Chartwells will conduct an extensive survey to determine how better to meet the needs of the campus community, said Barzensky in the letter.

This process, called “Fresh Eyes,” involves Chartwells evaluating the entire campus by analyzing the transactions at each dining location. Chartwells will make a recommendation to the university about what is lacking and what is going well with regard to dining services.
Students react to impending changes

Shortly after Barzensky’s letter reached campus email boxes, members of the Marywood community shared their thoughts on the dining services changes on The Wood Word’s Facebook page.

“Connections should’ve been closed since the Learning Commons Café was first opened. Makes sense especially if Naz if going to expand on take out options,” said student Sylvia Marie. “Good move by Chartwells.”

Others felt these changes may have a negative impact on students.

“Terrible idea. They need to keep First Stop open. Students eat there between classes, and it’s [a] close place for music and theatre students,” said student Kristin Stewart.

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