North Texas Daily

Dining updates include café closures, Eagle Landing expansions

Dining updates include café closures, Eagle Landing expansions

Dining updates include café closures, Eagle Landing expansions
February 05
13:00 2022

Some of the on-campus dining updates for 2022 include delayed openings of certain locations, as well as dining hall expansions, according to Dining Services’ staff.

The Biz Café located in the Business Leadership Building is listed as indefinitely closed on Dining’s website, while the unlisted Cafe G.A.B in the General Academic Building has also not reopened this semester.

Andy McDowall, computer science sophomore and Student Government Association senator, said he used to go to the Biz Café frequently.

“I liked the convenience of getting coffee there,” McDowall said. “There were usually shorter lines for [the BLB] Starbucks compared to the one in the Union.”

Senior Director of Dining Derrick Cripps said the decision to delay opening the lower-volume locations was made due to challenges facing restaurants and hospitality operations nationwide. These issues include unfilled full-time positions, COVID-19 related absences among existing staff, ongoing manufacturing shortages and supply chain issues.

“Throughout the pandemic, we are fortunate that we have been able to provide full service at our remaining 20+ retail restaurants and dining halls across campus, and we’re optimistic that we will be able to open Biz and GAB Cafés very soon,” Cripps said. “[…] Options are being evaluated on what the long-term plan will be there.”

Long-term plans are also being evaluated for the former Kerr Dining Hall space, which closed in December 2020 in anticipation of the launch of Eagle Landing. Cripps said the closure of Kerr Dining was “in the plan from the onset of the” Eagle Landing project, which offers twice the seating and triple the serving lines.

“Since nothing is set or approved yet, I can only say that we are in the planning phases with upcoming projects,” Cripps said. “Although, we look forward to future opportunities to be added to the campus like Eagle Landing was last year.”

Future changes will be coming soon to Eagle Landing through the addition of retail dining spaces. This includes a Which Wich, a coffee shop, a bakery and a space for grab-and-go items, the University of North Texas President Neal Smatresk said in an email to the North Texas Daily. These new options “will support the residence halls and late-night [grabs]” Smatresk said.

“We anticipate these locations will be open during the [upcoming] fall semester since the project was delayed due to COVID-19 and rising construction costs,” Smatresk said. “The cost is anticipated to be around $1 million to complete with equipment and finishes.”

While renovations and future plans are in progress, students can still dine in Eagle Landing’s cafeteria before the new retail services open. Data science senior Samir Rimal said Eagle Landing brought a new experience with several more dining options when it opened a year ago.

“I think there is a fair amount of food choices, and it definitely feels fresher and newer comparatively to the Union food court,” Rimal said. “I do always love the barbecue smell outside the building as well.”

Another dining update adds a new chapter to unfinished Einstein Bros. Bagels in the Art Building. As of July 2020, the construction was delayed indefinitely, but new decals on the storefront say the eatery is “coming in 2022.” UNT Facilities did not respond to requests for comment on the project.

Featured Image: A closed sign hangs on Café G.A.B. at the General Academic Building on Jan. 28, 2022. Photo by Jackie Martinez

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Christian Hollingsworth

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